A leading analysts has raised serious doubts about the prospects for one of BHP Billiton's key assets. The mining giant announced today it will continue to slash costs and drive $600 million in productivity gains while the price of coal stays under pressu


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21-06-2016 12:26 PM


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21-06-2016 12:26 PM



21-06-2016 01:28 PM

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2016-06-21 12:26:36

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CONIGRAVE, Katherine, M.


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A leading analysts has raised serious doubts about the prospects for one of BHP Billiton's key assets. The mining giant announced today it will continue to slash costs and drive $600 million in productivity gains while the price of coal stays under pressu -

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NICK GRIMM: Groups trying to curb alcohol addiction in Australia's Indigenous communities say they've been hamstrung by a lack of good information about the scale of the problem.

The most reliable data on the issue is two decades old but as Tom Fedorowytsch reports, a new mobile application under development could paint a clearer picture and help point problem drinkers towards help.

FEMALE APP VOICE: You are invited to help us test out this computer app. This computer is meant to make it easier for people to say what they drink.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: This is the start of the computerised questionnaire in the Grog Survey app, which is about to be tested in South Australia and Queensland. It's in English.

FEMALE APP VOICE: You can stop at any time and don't have to tell us why. Your answers are private. We won't write anything that shows who you are.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: And Pitjantjatjara.

(Male Pitjantjatjara app voice)

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: Alcohol abuse is a problem for some Indigenous Australians, but as Scott Wilson from South Australia's Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council explains, it's not clear how much of a problem.

SCOTT WILSON: When they do big household surveys, they ring people. And so if you don't have a land line, for example, you're probably not going to get phoned. If you were transient, or if you were actually one of the people that are caught up in a cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, you're probably not the one that's going to answer the phone at all.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: He says the lack of information has major implications.

SCOTT WILSON: The problem for us is we don't know when you do interventions, do they actually work? Because there's no follow up work on that. So, one of the ideas was to look at this iPad app.

KATE CONIGRAVE: We wanted something that was totally confidential and anonymous, that someone could sit there, using the app on their own with their headphones on.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: Professor Kate Conigrave from the University of Sydney is part of a team that wants to help.

They've developed the Grog Survey tablet app, in conjunction with the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council and a digital agency.

Workers and volunteers will head to Indigenous communities to start surveying people about their drinking habits.

KATE CONIGRAVE: Our chief goal is to get this app working well, and if we can show it's working well and show it's feasible, it can be a tool that can be used by Australian Bureau of Statistics or by local communities or local health services. And indeed, it can be used by local clinics to make it much easier to assess what people are drinking.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: The app is highly visual, with voiceovers and illustrations.

MALE APP VOICE: Do you want to take part in this study?

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: Jimmy Perry is an outreach worker who's lent his voice to the program.

JIMMY PERRY: So we've selected beer, then we can go either a full strength beer, light or even a home brew.

FEMALE APP VOICE: What do you mostly drink out of?

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: Now this is interesting because there are a whole different selection of options for how you might consume you're beer.

JIMMY PERRY: Yes, that's right. So we've got cans and stubbies, and then we've got even some of the beer comes in a smaller bottle.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: So we've got different glass sizes as well. So there's the pint glass up to a jug.

JIMMY PERRY: People you know, you might be sitting in a pub but you're not buying any cans, so you're drinking in schooners or pints or middies or whatever you know you call it. Or you're buying it in a jug.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: Is there a risk that this sort of approach can be a bit patronising?

JIMMY PERRY: I think it will go down fairly well because it is basically designed for Aboriginal people, but it can be done in English or in language, and I think a lot of people like to hear their language spoken.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: Along with questions on drinking patterns, the app asks users if their behaviour has had an impact on other people.

Scott Wilson again.

SCOTT WILSON: We'll survey them twice about their drinking, and in the third part is a clinical intervention because it'll tell them where they fit on the spectrum, whether they don't have a problem or whether they have a severe problem with alcohol.

And then they'll be able to go to the clinic for a clinical intervention to sort of talk about their drinking to see whether they need help.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: Professor Conigrave hopes the app could be used for other research.

KATE CONIGRAVE: I think around the world it could provide a benchmark on how to do this in a way that doesn't require the respondents to be doing mental arithmetic and complicated things. It should make the whole process easy and therefore more accurate.

TOM FEDOROWYTSCH: The Grog Survey app will be trialled from next month in Port Lincoln, Ceduna and Yalata, as well as by the Inala Health Service in Queensland.

NICK GRIMM: Tom Fedorowytsch with that report.