Cheers to a way forward

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Picture: Michael Wilson
Camera IconPicture: Michael Wilson Credit: WA News

Labor: Josie Farrer

Tighter restrictions only work if they are driven by local leadership and if all the other community support services such as child protection, health, mental health, housing and so on are in place.

There also needs to be more enforcement of current legislation.

Anecdotally, there are many instances of intoxicated people being served in licensed packaged liquor venues as well as minors being served as well.

There also needs to be greater support and treatment in regional areas for people that abuse alcohol.

The Take Away Management System that was recently evaluated in Kununurra seems to have had a positive impact in the community by limiting the sale of alcohol to minors.

Local leadership and a holistic, cross-agency approach to support services is important to ensure the success of any restrictions.

Liberals: Warren Greatorex

I believe all liquor accords need to be consistent right across the Kimberley.

Having restrictions in only a number of townships within the Kimberley has not resolved the underlining issues but have clearly moved the issues to other areas.

I don’t believe tighter restrictions are necessary; what I do believe is all alcohol rehab centres and awareness programs should be made available throughout the whole of the Kimberley.

The current situation in the Kimberley has resulted in a massive spike in sly-grogging and has created a lucrative alcohol black market, which in turn has made many families worse off than what they were before in terms of financial hardship.

Nationals: Rob Houston

I think tighter liquor restrictions should be considered but what is really important is that there is uniformity across the Kimberley.

I do not think that complete prohibition works but an effective and fair alcohol management system across the Kimberley would have clear social benefits.

There needs to be effective wrap-around services to deal with alcoholics and social issues, and we also need to be mindful about the impacts on the region’s tourism industry.

We also need to address the horrific impacts of ice (or methamphetamine) in the Kimberley. There is bipartisan support from all political parties to take strong action and we need to ensure this commitment is backed up with effective strategies on the ground.

This is a tough issue and needs to be worked through with the whole Kimberley community to be successful.

Greens: Liz Vaughan

Restrictions that are community-driven and supported have been effective in addressing alcohol abuse, so there must be community support for these kinds of measures before they are put in place.

There is much debate on this issue, and on the effectiveness of controls on people’s freedom achieving better social outcomes.

The Greens WA believe better education and greater investment in frontline services must be the first step in addressing social problems caused by alcohol. Too often we see governments put in place extreme measures to appear tough on an issue without any evidence to support their effectiveness.

We would advocate for greater support to regional communities who are struggling with alcohol-related problems, and would only support implementation of tighter liquor restrictions if they have been driven by the community and there is an increase in frontline support services and evidence that the measures would be effective.

One Nation: Keith Wright

I am not certain that tighter liquor restrictions are the total solution to the terrible problem that certain areas of the Kimberley and in fact, the north in general, are experiencing.

An answer must be found and with a minimum delay before the structure of our towns as we know them is destroyed.

Further restrictions will impose even more restriction on those that are not the cause of the problem.

Certainly, when the sale of alcohol is a legitimate and already regulated business (alcohol is not an illegal product) we must be wary of restricting a business in carrying on what is totally legal, and that is the sale of alcohol.

Government and the authorities should be devoting time and resources to attack and treat the cause rather than an overly restrictive approach to the sale. It is my intention if elected to convene and chair community meetings in all towns affected in the Kimberley.

From these meetings the collective findings will be taken to and discussed with government to really find, once and for all, a solution that is as equitable.

Independent: Kai Jones

Liquor is known for negative effects on brain, heart, liver and pancreas with the ability to increase our risk of cancer, weaken our immune system and develop into addiction.

Excess liquor consumption often causes violent and abusive behaviour, with negative impacts on friends and family and professionals providing assistance.

Limiting availability for a substance known to cause detrimental impacts will limit the negative social and financial impact at individual, family and community levels while increasing positive impacts on social cohesion, individual and community health, and professional and emergency services.

Liquor retailers and associates may publicly express commercially oriented disapproval but objective research indicates that appropriate restrictions, as championed through Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy, have long-term positive family, community and social outcomes. I support community-driven liquor restrictions when used in appropriate situations.

Independent: Graham Chapman

No, but we need to change our approach to liquor restriction. We need to implement the cashless welfare card and work on the Takeaway Alcohol Management System which was trialled in Kununurra and Wyndham.

It may not cure the problem, but will go a long way towards reducing the problems associated with alcohol and drugs. The TAMS system was introduced into the Kimberley, which could also extend across the State.

TAMS is a simple scanning technology system that implements a daily alcohol purchase limit. The scanners use legal personal identification to allow licensees to register how much an individual has purchased on any one particular day and could be used across takeaway liquor outlets within the Kimberley or WA.

This practice will assist licensees in ensuring the restrictions for takeaway alcohol are being adhered to.

This could be our first step in the right direction for everybody and reducing domestic violence in our communities.

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