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Beattie continues to mislead on support for Cape alcohol plans.



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DEMOCRATS

MEDIA 04/810

FRIDAY, AUGUST 27 2004

SENATOR JOHN CHERRY AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

Beattie continues to mislead on support for Cape alcohol plans Premier Beattie continues to mislead Queenslanders when he says Government imposed alcohol bans on Cape York Indigenous communities, enjoy "overwhelming community support", according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats Queensland Senator John Cherry, who recently met with representatives of nine Indigenous communities on the Cape, said that while communities acknowledged there are benefits to be gained through restricting the sale of alcohol most were angry the Premier had imposed Alcohol Management Plans without community consent, and with minimal consultation.

"The inevitable consequence of the Government riding roughshod over the legitimate concerns of the community is a lack of community support for the grog bans, as evidenced by the arrests in Kowanyama,” Senator Cherry said.

"Tony Fitzgerald's Cape York Justice Study last year warned the Government that alcohol management plans would only be successful if the community was behind it. The report recommended:

"The Government's task is to encourage the community to accept responsibility, to empower it to deal with its problems, to assist it to do so and to provide necessary recourses, facilities and support."

"The Beattie Government's Alcohol Management Plans do none of these things - communities have been disempowered, resources have not been increased, especially for rehabilitation and treatment of offenders, and as a result the community has not been encouraged to accept responsibility.

"All communities on the Cape I visited acknowledged a problem with alcohol and wanted to work with Government to address it. But the Government's imposed bans were resented and in many cases were completely inappropriate given local circumstances.

"I call on the Government to fast track its review of the Alcohol Management Plans, to engage in real and meaningful consultation with communities about amendments, and to provide resources to address the issues that cause alcohol abuse such as the chronic overcrowding and lack of employment opportunities on the Cape," he concluded.

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