REPRESENTATIVES of Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal services came together at Ceduna Foreshore Hotel on Tuesday May 8 for discussions on the ongoing issue of alcohol over consumption amongst Aboriginal people in Ceduna.
The roundtable discussions were based around the findings of the coronial report into the deaths of Aboriginal people within Ceduna over the past five years, including two deaths on Goode Road last year.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Paul Caica attended the meeting to hear about the issues continuing within the community.
Many organisations and groups were represented, including Ceduna District Council, Housing SA, Ceduna Health Services and Far West Coast Traditional Lands Association.
The communities of Yalata, Oak Valley and Koonibba were also represented.
Issues addressed included access to alcohol for Aboriginal people, management of the Transitional Housing facility, access to housing in Aboriginal communities and health issues for Aboriginal people.
Yalata elders Mima Smart and Keith Peters voiced their plea to help bring Yalata residents back to their community and to ensure they have access to housing there.
Mima Smart said she hopes the talks will cause the community to act and help Yalata residents be healthy and be able to come back.
“I hope this open dialogue will make things move forward and will cause the different services in Ceduna to work together to ensure our people are able to come home,” she said.
Minister Paul Caica also congratulated Mima Smart on recently being awarded with an Order of Australia medal for her services to Aboriginal people in South Australia.
Mr Caica said the process has been a healthy one, now everyone needs to work together to ensure improvement can be made.
“The open discussion was very beneficial to get around the table and express our views on the issue,” he said.
“I can see a lot of collective good will, but everyone needs to have individual and collective responsibility to build upon the good will.”
SAPOL has been working on enforcement of alcohol laws and prevention to limit the sales and supply of alcohol to Aboriginal people.
Acting Superintendent of Eyre and Western Local Service Area Scott Denny said SAPOL have pledged to work closely with both Licensees and Ceduna Council to address concerns raised in the coronial report.
“What we are doing as a result is working with the community, Licensees and the Council to address concerns raised in the recent Coroners Findings,” he said.
“In particular, we are working together to better manage and restrict sales of certain forms of alcohol in an attempt to prevent people from drinking to excess.”
From here everyone involved is depending on cooperation to make the situation in Ceduna better.
Yalata Community CEO Greg Franks said open discussion would cause action to be done and hopefully bring a brighter future for the Yalata community.
“Until it’s out in the open and people can talk about it, nothing can happen,” he said.
“We need to work on providing housing and job opportunities in Yalata for people to come back to the community and ensure residents who come to Ceduna for work or education can be safe and healthy.”
Stay tuned for more updates on this issue in the future.