03 Sep 2010 Remote indigenous communities thriving in new ‘dry’ (The Australian)
MERVINA Henry is the shy face of change in Queensland’s remote indigenous communities, where alcohol consumption has been curtailed and children are staying in school.
Five years after alcohol restrictions were imposed on the state’s 19 communities, and two years after Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson won government and indigenous support for a trial of a welfare-linked school attendance scheme, the benefits are becoming manifest.
Hospitals and police report that assaults and domestic violence have decreased markedly, and more children are going to school across north Queensland.
In the large community of Aurukun on western Cape York, school attendances increased 10 per cent last year, and almost as much again this year.
The emerging success owes to the reforms being increasingly embraced by the leaders and residents of the communities.
In the tiny Aboriginal community of Mossman Gorge, an hour’s drive from Cairns, 11 families this year chose to have their homes declared “dry houses”. This means that no alcohol is allowed to be brought into the premises. …Go to article.