Focus on crime, alcohol
For the latest in our series of stories looking at the thoughts of those up for positions in our local elections on October 21, we look at alcohol-related issues and crime. Shire of East Pilbara electors can obtain replacement packages from the Newman administration office on Kalgan Drive and can hand-deliver their voting packages at the administration office on election day.
Town of Port Hedland electors can obtain a replacement package from the Civic Centre in Port Hedland and can hand-deliver their voting packages on election day at the Civic Centre, Lotteries House in South Hedland and Yandeyarra.
This week, we asked the Town of Port Hedland candidates what they will do to address alcohol-related antisocial behaviour and help reduce crime in Port Hedland.
I am saddened watching the effects of alcohol in our whole community. I see adults whom I used to teach, hurting within their families or are affected by both alcohol and drugs. The basics type card throughout WA helps many people get their lives back on track. I don't agree with banning full- strength takeaways, but if the minister puts bans in place, then I and our community will have to bear the restrictions.
The reason alcohol-related antisocial behaviour in Port Hedland has been exposed across Australia in the media, is because I have hit the subject head on. I have released CCTV footage and demanded action and outcomes from the police, government and non-government agencies. Hedland people are sick to death of the public and domestic dysfunction. I will continue what I started, there is still a long way to go.
There is a small cross-section of the community that has an alcohol problem. The consequences of that alcohol problem are felt by all sectors of our community through crime, antisocial behaviour, FASD, domestic violence, etc. I would like to see an alcohol licence system which severely restricts alcohol sales to those who have a recent history of alcohol-related issues, while relaxing existing restrictions on those who don’t have a problem with alcohol, for example, Sunday trading.
It is a well-known fact our mayor advocates for the cashless card which in itself is not the solution. Again the TOPH is treating the effects of an issue and not addressing the cause. Consultation, co-ordination and commitment with the community elders as a first step could work. The second step is to make our judicial system impose penalties applicable to all Australians for antisocial behaviour.
I will ensure this issue remains firmly on the council’s agenda. I will push for a united council that gets on with the task at hand. This issue will not be solved solely at a local level. Collaboration with local agencies and support from a State and Federal level is required and council needs to drive this.
Councillor and mayoral candidate
I would like to see more policing and move-on notices in trouble areas, also the use of the drug sniffer dog in shops and parks on a regular basis. What I won’t agree with is the forced closure of legitimate liquor outlets, the penalising of employees wages, but more importantly not allowing law- abiding citizens in our town to buy the alcohol they wish to purchase on any date. Lock up the law breakers.
Alcohol sales spike here when there is either an indigenous event or indigenous money is dispensed. The result is binge drinking. The police and hospital are then run off their feet and serious life-threatening injuries always result. The police have the power to shut down alcohol sales and they do. I advocate that whenever such indigenous events are likely, the public be given 72 hours prior notice.
Antisocial behaviour is one of the biggest challenges in Hedland and the new council needs to lead action with key stakeholders. We need to work with government departments, support agencies and the community to reduce antisocial behaviour. As councillors we need to support change that addresses these issues. If elected, I will continue to support the police in their efforts to reduce all antisocial behaviour. Together we can achieve the best outcomes for Hedland.
Respect cultural differences and value people’s views and opinions. I will participate in community discussions and work with stakeholders to understand the underlying issues and hopefully find some common ground and solution/s that our community can support. I will assist in communicating the issues and potential solutions to the appropriate forum.
I would work with local agencies who provide services such as drug and alcohol counselling and also continue with the informative Aboriginal Strong Leaders group who address with Police, DCP and other key agencies a lot of the core issues that are causing antisocial behaviour down at the town square and kids on the streets at night to figure out the right solutions to the problems and have a two-way accountability process. I would also like to work with the families and suggest programs that could help.
Councillor and mayoral candidate
I support the police in their temporary bans, until more effective solution can be instituted. Temporary bans work, because they are temporary — permanent prohibition doesn’t. People find a work-around. “Pilbara prohibition” is detrimental to vendors, consumers, and visitors to Port Hedland. The solution will contain many parts — education, social training, positive reinforcement and negative consequences. Cashless cards and ID to Buy may have merit. We have a great opportunity here to change lives.
This week we asked candidates what they will do to address crime in each of their prospective wards.
South Ward candidate
Antisocial behaviour is unacceptable. Unfortunately, it is an issue faced by most communities. I will support all initiatives that make our town and community safer. We need to bolster the liquor accord, which is aimed at reducing antisocial behaviour in our community. Our police, shire, schools, not-for-profits and parents need to work together to address this issue. The introduction of the Federal Governments cashless welfare card has proven a success in reducing alcohol-fuelled violence and consumption, illegal drug use and gambling in other regions. We should be exploring its benefit and value also.
South Ward candidate
As stated last week, rectifying youth issues and behaviour is a passion of mine. I feel there are several initiatives and ideas that could be implemented. There are programs already established that are known to be beneficial and work else-where, that wouldn’t be difficult to change to suit our community. Some infrastructure in the way of a fit-for-purpose facility like a drop-in centre run by a committee could minimise crime. Previously there has been a facility as such in Newman that was successful in minimising the antisocial behaviour among youth.
South Ward candidate
“Communication is the best starting point I believe. We all need to talk to one another — parents, teachers, friends, law makers, community groups. Don’t leave it to the next person to solve. During these conversations you may find the “common thread”, the reason that these members of our community are stepping outside the accepted rules of society. I do not have a magic solution for this problem that seems to be growing within society. As your elected representative, I would hope to have the opportunity to be part of commencing the communication.
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