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Tuesday, 5 May 1987
Page: 2644

Mr SIMMONS(10.20) —Most people in this House have probably heard of a small centre in central western New South Wales, Gulgong, perhaps best known as the town on the $10 note. Gulgong has a population of about 1,900 people, but this week marks the beginning of a most innovative program at the official opening of which I was fortunate enough to be present last Sunday. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Mudgee Shire Drug and Alcohol Committee based in Gulgong, which alternatively calls itself the Gulgong Drug Awareness for Youth Committee, or G'DAY for short. It is a most interesting move. Last Sunday, 3 May, the Stay in Control Awareness Week began, with an official opening by the regional director of the Department of Health in the Orana region, Bob Taylor.

The program is most interesting because it attempts to look at a wide-ranging set of programs for an entire week in the local community. To give some indication of the wide level of support for this program, I indicate that the chairman of the group is the Deputy President of the Mudgee Shire, Councillor Col Bailey. It is also supported by Sister Mary Devoy of St Joseph's Convent, Gulgong; Mr Mike Williams, a former chairman and co-founder of the G'DAY committee; Dr Glenys Caterson, a local medical practitioner; and another Councillor from the Mudgee Shire, Councillor Rod Hartas. Those names and occupations indicate that the Gulgong Drug Awareness for Youth Committee enjoys a wide level of community support. This week it is attempting to focus on some of the positive initiatives that people can take to try to steer young people in the community and other people generally away from drug and alcohol dependency.

As an indication of some of the wide ranging programs that are being put into operation this week, I instance a program for drugs and the elderly in the community, a drug and alcohol counselling session, a library display, a discussion with school groups throughout the community, and an awareness workshop which will focus on such concepts as self-esteem, communication, assertiveness and time management. There is also to be an interesting night concerned with positive parenting, finally ending up with a country and western dance, which I suppose in a country centre is a most appropriate way to end a week that is involved with looking at the concept of a positive alternative set of lifestyles. The emphasis is on family and community support. There are positive alternatives, the Gulgong community believes, to looking at the temptations that are involved in alcohol, tobacco and hard drug dependency.

The G'DAY concept is spreading. It began in 1985 and since that time the New South Wales Department of Health, through its regional director and office in Dubbo, has focused on this initiative and tried to extend the concept further afield. In another western centre, the town of Warren, the concept has been taken up in a very successful way. One of the organisers of the committee, Mr Williams, indicated that if people wanted to extend the concept by focusing on some of the positive alternatives to drug and alcohol dependence, the name G'DAY could become synonomous with guidance for Australian youth. It is a nice Australian saying and a nice way of focusing on a very positive community approach to a very difficult area. The fact that governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in trying to educate the community away from drug dependency indicates that this is a very serious problem for the community. I take this opportunity to congratulate the community of Gulgong on its wide-ranging support of the G'DAY committee. I hope that other interested communities in the area will take note of what is happening.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.