The implementation and development of complex alcohol control policies in indigenous communities in Queensland (Australia)

Clough, Alan R., and Bird, Katrina (2015) The implementation and development of complex alcohol control policies in indigenous communities in Queensland (Australia). International Journal of Drug Policy, 26 (4). pp. 345-351.

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Abstract

Very high rates of injury and death during the 1990s were linked with increased alcohol availability and misuse in discrete Indigenous communities in rural and remote Queensland (Australia). To address widespread concerns about a public health crisis, from 2002, the Queensland Government implemented alcohol control strategies known as 'Alcohol Management Plans' (AMPs) in 19 of these communities. Although resources for prevention and treatment were promised, AMPs became increasingly focused on local prohibition, restricted access to alcohol and punitive measures for breaching restrictions. An examination of legislation, regulations, explanatory notes, and published documents indicates this focus evolved across four phases since 2002. The first phase, from 2002 to 2004, saw 'restricted areas' with alcohol 'carriage limits' introduced, restricting the amounts and types of liquor permitted within some communities. The second phase (2002–2007) featured evaluations and reviews by the Queensland Government bringing recommendations for more stringent controls. Additionally, beyond the 'restricted areas', licenced premises situated within the 'catchments' of the targeted communities, mainly located in the nearby regional towns, became subject to 'minimising harm' provisions. These more stringent controls were implemented widely in the third phase (2008–2011) when: the operations of seven community-managed liquor outlets were terminated; the trading arrangements of two others were modified; Police powers to search and seize were increased; and 'attempting' to take liquor into a 'restricted area' also became an offence. Some communities have seen a reduction in alcohol-related harms that have been attributed to these alcohol control strategies. This commentary maps the recent regulatory history of Queensland's alcohol controls targeting discrete Indigenous communities highlighting their increasing focus on punitive measures to reduce access to alcohol. With AMPs in Queensland currently under Government review, and with community resolve for change rising, the limits to Government controls and punitive measures may have been reached.

Item ID: 37188
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Indigenous Australian; alcohol; alcohol policy
ISSN: 1873-4758
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC project grant APP1042532
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2015 22:49
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 100%
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