‘What about the rights of our kids to a future?’ Community instigated alcohol restrictions in the Kimberley and why they are working


Community initiated alcohol restrictions have been in place in the Kimberley for three years (Fitzroy Crossing) and two years (Halls Creek). Nationally, alcohol restrictions are regarded by many commentators and health professionals as an ineffective tool in dealing with systemic alcohol abuse afflicting regional communities. Yet, for two Kimberley towns two year qualitative and quantitative evaluations completed by the Nulungu Centre for Indigenous Studies for the Drug and Alcohol Office (WA) have revealed significant overall health and social benefits as well as the creation of windows of opportunity for social reconstruction of communities suffering the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, due to restrictions. This paper will reveal the findings of these two year studies and compare and contrast the results between the town of Fitzroy Crossing (the Fitzroy Valley) and Halls Creek (the central eastern Kimberley). The rights of old people and young people, in particular, to a safe and secure community environment will be examined against the often stated ‘right’ to drink of young and middle aged adults. Within a breakdown of social norms, collective community instigated interventions can work when instigated by community leaders, regardless of whether they receive the wider support of the community. The role of leadership in addressing controversial and conflicting issues within the value of collective responsibility will be examined.


Oral Presentation, Abstract only


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The Author:

Steve Kinnane