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SA Government drug response ‘timely’



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

Media Releases

SA Government drug response ‘timely’

8/10/2003

One of the key Aboriginal delegates to last year’s State Drug Summit says the SA Government should be congratulated for “putting its money where its mouth is.”

“The announcement last week by Health Minister Lea Stevens that another $6 million will be spent over four years to tackle further recommendations from the Drug Summit is both welcome and timely,” ATSIC’s Patpa Warra Yunti Regional Council* Chairman Tauto Sansbury said.

“All too often Aboriginal people have seen a lot of breast beating and reports gathering dust on shelves over the years about the problems we have to deal with every day of our lives, but little or nothing often seems to get done,” Chairman Sansbury said.

“I was one member of the Aboriginal People and Drug Use Working Group which met throughout the Drug Summit and this announcement gives us some heart that our ideas were listened to and resources are now being allocated to attack the drug scourge in our community,” he said.

The State Health Minister announced new funding of $600,000 a year for the Department of Human Services to extend its Aboriginal Kinship program to rural and regional areas.

In addition, a further $100,000 was allocated to investigate the feasibility of establishing a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week Aboriginal family treatment centre in the Adelaide metropolitan area.

“The Aboriginal Kinship Program is important because it adopts a holistic approach to dealing with problems across a range of key service providers and agencies and seeks to reunite and reinforce Aboriginal family structures which have been shattered by drugs,” Chairman Sansbury said.

“The money for the Aboriginal family treatment centre feasibility study is also crucial because it was the number one recommendation put forward by Aboriginal people at the Drug Summit and is badly needed.

“ATSIC also believes a similar 24-hour, 7-day-a-week service is urgently needed in Port Augusta or the Far North to deal alcohol, petrol sniffing and substance abuse problems in other areas of the State, he said.

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Chairman Sansbury said the good start made in addressing Drug Summit recommendations must not be allowed to lapse into complacency.

“We are pleased that the emphasis of this latest round of funding is to boost support for Aboriginal families of drug users, enhance drug and alcohol prevention, referral and treatment programs and improve services for people with other health issues,” Chairman Sansbury said.

“While we realise that several other mainstream initiatives announced by Minister Stevens last week will also be of benefit to the Aboriginal community, there are still other Aboriginal-specific initiatives from the Drug Summit which need to be followed up.

“For instance the State Government was called on to establish an Aboriginal-specific State sport and recreation complex in the metropolitan area .

“ATSIC is keen to discuss this initiative with the SA Government as the complex could play a vital role in helping our people focus on participating in healthly lifestyles and recreational activities.

“Such a complex could also be pivotal in delivering culturally-appropriate education and training programs and facilities for young people coming from SA’s rural and remote areas.

“ATSIC congratulates Minister Stevens over the announcement of this latest round of funding and looks forward to further discussions with the State Government about follow up initiatives in other areas such as training for family support workers,” Chairman Sansbury said.

*The Patpa Warra Yunti Regional Council covers all of the Adelaide Metropolitan area, Yorke Peninsula, Clare, the Fleurieu Peninsula,Riverland, Murray Mallee, Coorong and Lakes and South East down to Mt Gambier.

Interviews: Tauto Sansbury on 0429 676957

Media enquiries: Eric Roberts on 0417 818482

www.atsic.gov.au