A report prepared for the NT Department of Justice.
There have been a number of evaluations of alcohol management in the Alice Springs region. Interestingly, an evaluation in 1975 emphasised the need for government and other agencies to view the issues holistically and to address them accordingly. The outcomes of this evaluation point to a similar situation with comparable recommendations.
The situation in Alice Springs is unique in some respects but has parallel characteristics to other towns and communities in Australia. Alice Springs is an important regional supply, service-orientated, and tourism town. Its people have diverse backgrounds and appear as durable as the environment they live in. Associated with this is a hard drinking culture that permeates the community with a range of issues regardless of one's cultural background.
The research group found a community that in many ways is ruptured and fragmented when it comes to the ways and means of how such challenges can be confronted. This situation is exemplified by the perception that alcohol problems are confined to a minority of drinkers that seemingly pervades the dialogue surrounding drinking and its effects in the town.
Nevertheless, a positive outcome of such discourse is the fact that people do care about their community and are very keen to live in a town where there are more responsible attitudes toward drinking. There is some way to go; the first thing that everyone needs to accept is that it is a community problem. Non-Indigenous and Indigenous individuals, groups and organisations all have a responsibility therefore in addressing the challenges and working toward better solutions. Government have an important role of course, however the acceptance by the community that it is a community problem is paramount.
Some of the community and government initiatives are having a positive effect on drinking in the town. However, some of the initiatives, such as certain restrictions, can and should not be considered, on their own, as long-term solutions. Other processes need to be implemented, oversighted and managed in an effective manner. An important component of such processes is data that is well managed, available, and appropriate for those agencies involved.