Nationals WA candidate for the Kimberley Millie Hills has warned a Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) in the region needs associated wraparound services before its introduction in May this year.
Mrs Hills said while she supported the concept of a BDR, support and education programs needed to be incorporated into the two-year trial if it were to be a success.
“Systems such as BDRs and Takeaway Alcohol Management Systems (TAMS) only work if support agencies are able to provide wraparound services so communities are better prepared to move away from drinking and alcohol abuse,” she said.
“Many East Kimberley consumers find and exploit cracks in current TAMS systems and continue to drinking at levels detrimental to their health and other community members.
“That’s why it’s important the BDR trial is accompanied by serious community outreach and education programs that encourage drinking in moderation and even better, wean people off alcohol altogether.”
Residents in the Kimberley consume nearly twice the State average per capita of alcohol, have 4.5 times the level of alcohol-related hospitalisation and nearly three times the level of alcohol related deaths.
TAMS models introduced by Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Kununurra communities in 2007, 2009 and 2015 respectively have had positive impact through restricted alcohol sales.
But Mrs Hills said housing and legal assistance, crisis intervention, mental health counselling, medical care and individual case management must be interwoven to a joint BDR and TAMS approach to solving alcohol-related problems in the Kimberley.
“As I travel around the electorate I’ll be discussing how Kimberley residents feel a BDR trial can best work and what services communities want to see accompanying it,” she said.
Nationals candidate for the Mining and Pastoral Region Nick Fardell said the other key issue related to compliance of those outside the retail setting.
“Although the BDR and TAMS allow for regulation of alcohol sale at purchase points, there is little to monitor or stop people drinking at home or elsewhere,” he said.
“We need real leadership on this from people influential in their communities to help stamp out alcohol-related harm and bring alcohol fuelled violence, crime and antisocial behaviour under control.”