THE HON JENNY MACKLIN MP
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery
Member for Lingiari
North East Arnhem Land, NT
8 August 2010
A re-elected Gillard Labor Government will make a new investment to tackle alcohol and drug abuse in Indigenous communities across Australia.
This abuse can have a devastating impact on Indigenous communities, leading to high levels of substance fuelled violence.
Indigenous Australians are nine times more likely to die from alcohol related causes than non-Indigenous Australians.
And a recent study by the Australian Institute of Criminology found that “alcohol is now regarded as one, if not the, primary risk factor for violence in Indigenous communities’’.
Federal Labor will support community-led solutions for tackling alcohol and substance abuse in communities.
A re-elected Gillard Labor Government will commit $20 million towards:
Assisting Indigenous communities to work with government and non-profit organisations, in order to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse management plans. These plans will be aimed at reducing the supply and availability of alcohol and drugs, as well as reducing demand.
Supporting community groups and non-profit organisations to work at a local level, in order to drive the alcohol and drug abuse management plans and support the community.
Provide prevention programs to tackle youth substance abuse.
The contribution of $20 million will be made over the forward estimates through a new National Partnership with the States and Territories, to commence from 1 July 2011.
A re-elected Gillard Labor Government will also implement a National Framework for Tackling Alcohol and Substance Abuse through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), to deal with the cycle of alcohol and drug abuse and the underlying causes in Indigenous communities.
The Framework will focus on reducing the supply of alcohol and drugs in communities, reducing the devastating impact that alcohol and other substance abuse has on communities, reducing alcohol consumption during pregnancy and improving the overall wellbeing of Indigenous families.
Our investment will have a significant focus on building skills in Indigenous communities to drive solutions.
This investment builds on the additional $49.3 million committed at the 2007 COAG meeting for Indigenous substance abuse initiatives aimed at increasing drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation services in regional and remote Indigenous communities.
It also complements the $64 million Indigenous Family Safety Program, recently announced by the Gillard Labor Government as part of a new Indigenous Family Safety Agenda.
The Agenda aims to tackle alcohol abuse by working with communities to stem the supply of alcohol where it leads to high-levels of family violence.
Our priorities under the Agenda are to strengthen police protection in remote communities, support community led initiatives that heal trauma and change attitudes, and improve coordination of services to victims, especially children.
Federal Labor is also supporting the first Australian study into the prevalence and impact of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder on Indigenous children. This will be undertaken in the Fitzroy Valley, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The Gillard Labor Government will continue to work with Indigenous leaders across the country to improve the safety of families and communities.
Funding for this investment will be fully offset over the forward estimates, consistent with the Gillard Labor Government’s commitment to return the budget to surplus in 2013, three years ahead of schedule.
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