FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has backed an LNP plan to review alcohol management plans, saying total prohibition has failed to resolve the social issues in indigenous communities.
Mr Entsch said comments by Premier Anna Bligh and Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser, who described the plan as a grab at Aboriginal votes, were “disgraceful”.
“Both Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser have been part of a government that has failed indigenous communities,” he said.
“Their State Government introduced prohibition simply to secure votes in south-east Queensland, not to help the people of Cape York.
“They imposed the AMPs on communities but did not provide the services or facilities to deal with alcoholism.
“The people inflicted by this addiction had nowhere to turn for help and have suffered. Many of them have been driven from their communities and are creating greater problems living on the streets of regional centres.
“The State Government put its head in the sand, thinking prohibition was the easy answer. It was never going to work.”
Mr Entsch said the plan outlined by LNP leader Campbell Newman would address a variety of issues and empower indigenous communities.
“I applaud Campbell Newman’s plan,” he said.
“As I’ve said for years, to address alcoholism in remote communities, we need to provide medical detox centres and healing centres.
“It is no use imposing alcohol bans then expecting people to fend for themselves. They need help to overcome their addiction.
“Then we give the individual communities the opportunity to make their own decisions on what level of prohibition they need.”
Mr Entsch said Mr Newman’s review would include consultation with communities and industries affected by the current AMPs or any future regulations.
“It’s what the State Government failed to do when they introduced prohibition,” he said.
“Like they have with Wild Rivers and the World Heritage bid, they pushed it down the throats of the people whose lives are affected by their decisions in a callous bid to secure votes in south-east Queensland with no consideration whatsoever to the ongoing negative impact on the communities in Cape York.
“Mr Newman and the LNP have vowed to consult more with communities and in the case of managing alcohol issues on the Cape, I’m sure it will be warmly welcomed.”