Liquor offences

Summary Offences (Liquor Offences) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 5 September 2018.)

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (16:54): Thank you, Mr Acting Speaker, and thank you for taking the chair to give me an opportunity to contribute to this bill. I am very pleased that this bill has made it back to this parliament. We, of course, debated it last year under the previous government. There have been some slight changes to that bill, but we supported it then and obviously we are putting it forward now, with changes, as a very important bill.

The bill is entitled Summary Offences (Liquor Offences) Amendment Bill 2018. It reforms the unlawful sale of liquor and the supply of liquor to vulnerable communities where the consumption of liquor is prohibited. In particular, it relates to some of the more remote communities in our state, including the APY lands, which have been mentioned already; the Umoona community, near Coober Pedy; and the Yalata Reserve. The Yalata Reserve is within the electorate of Flinders and is of particular interest to me.

Grog running is a problem; it is a continuing problem. The communities that I have mentioned have chosen to be dry communities. They made a decision as a community to be dry, not to have alcohol on the community and on their premises, so we have to respect that. However, some have decided that they still need a drink and others have decided that they are prepared to supply that need, so therein lies the problem. ‘Grog running’ is the term used for the unlawful supply and sale of liquor in dry areas. It often leads to alcohol-related harm, including serious violence, disorder, antisocial behaviour and medical problems for vulnerable communities.

We are all familiar with the havoc that is wrought by alcohol and drug abuse, but in this case we are talking about alcohol abuse. Alcohol destroys lives. It could potentially destroy these communities. We need to give our service providers, and there are many—and I know Ceduna particularly well, where there are many service providers who are dealing with the issues raised by substance abuse within that town. Yalata is about 200 kilometres further west of Ceduna, but the draw is towards Ceduna for it services and the demand is particularly on the social services and the health services in that town.

SAPOL has been looking for extra abilities to counteract the grog running that occurs. The South Australian government currently has legislative restrictions to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related harm in regional communities. These restrictions are focused on the Aboriginal communities predominantly and include conditions on high-risk liquor licences under the Liquor Licensing Act which limit the amount of specific liquors which can be purchased per person per day and restricts the type of liquor sold completely for off-premise consumption.

Those alcohol outlets in and around Ceduna—the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Motel, the Thevenard Hotel, the Penong Hotel, and I think it might extend even further than that but I stand to be corrected—certainly are under restrictions as to the sale of alcohol. For me, to buy alcohol at the Ceduna hotel, I need to provide identification. They view that ID and make a record of my purchase, so it is one in all in. Complaints that I have had in my office in relation to this are in regard to the online delivery of alcohol. Obviously, some have tried to order bigger quantities from bigger retail outlets that have online service delivery. I will not mention them, but the names will be familiar. Quite responsibly, those online outlets have chosen to respect the restrictions that have been put in place by this government.

Specific communities being prohibited under legislation from possessing and consuming liquor on the lands, with some exemptions as I mentioned before, are the APY lands, Umoona community and Yalata Reserve. Consultation with relevant agencies highlights that current strategies designed to combat grog running are not sufficient. I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (17:34): I resume my contribution on this very important Summary Offences (Liquor Offences) Amendment Bill, and I have been talking particularly as to how this relates to the community of Yalata in the electorate of Flinders.

We are creating new offences in the Summary Offences Act 1953 relating to possessing or transporting liquor for the purpose of sale with a rebuttal presumption that possession above a prescribed quantity of liquor is for the purpose of sale. We are also creating a new offence in the Summary Offences Act 1953 for a person who supplies liquor or possesses or transports liquor with intention to supply it to a person in a dry community. Of course, the main driver of this activity is that there is money in it. There is great profit to be made in running grog to a dry community.

Designated areas are determined by the minister and must not be more than 20 kilometres from the boundary of a prescribed area. I know that this has caused some discussion, and under the previous government’s proposal it was suggested that the boundary must not be more than 100 kilometres from the boundary of the prescribed area, but ultimately that is a fair stretch. The 20-kilometre boundary gives SAPOL and police officers quite a clear indication of what might be occurring within that relatively small district.

We are creating a new offence in the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 for a holder of a licence who sells liquor to a person reasonably believed to be an unlicensed seller intending to sell the liquor and the unlicensed seller then sells that liquor. This relates to a licensed liquor outlet in a town somewhere relatively nearby, although it does not have to be, but ordinarily it would be in close proximity to a community. Sales are made from that liquor outlet to a person whom they can reasonably believe to be intending to onsell it. This potentially leaves the licensed outlets in a difficult situation because ultimately they can never really know the intention, I guess. They need to act on suspicion.

We are also creating a new offence in the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 for an occupier or person in charge of premises who knowingly permits the unlicensed sale of liquor on those premises. In other words, they deliberately do so. Notably, this bill differs from the one the former government introduced in the following ways, and I mentioned the prescribed area, which is reduced from 100 kilometres to 20 kilometres, and 100 kilometres from Yalata brings it back to Penong, whereas, if a vehicle was under suspicion and within 20 kilometres of a community, the police are more likely to pull it over and investigate what is inside that vehicle. SAPOL has stated that this area is still entirely workable and will assist with stopping grog running.

We have to remember, and the member for Elizabeth would be familiar with this, that there are just four police officers west of Ceduna: two based at Penong and two based at Yalata, and beyond that there is nothing until Eucla, which is actually a Western Australian station. SAPOL is adequately represented, but it is not as though they are thick on the ground in the Far West, so they need to be given the ability to make this workable.

Some of the additional police powers have been removed from the bill we saw presented last year, in particular the police power to stop a vehicle, detain and search a vehicle and direct a person to open any part of the vehicle without reasonable suspicion. In other words, there needs to be reasonable suspicion before they are asked to open the boot. The government believes that these powers were excessive and that the power of police to stop, search and detain should be the same for every other offence, being those powers in the Summary Offences Act.

The government believes that the current powers in the Summary Offences Act achieve the appropriate balance between the need for police officers to enforce the law and for community members to go about their daily activities without fear that they will be stopped and searched without reasonable suspicion. It is all about getting the right balance, and SAPOL have stated that the powers they hold are already sufficient.

I believe this goes a long way towards addressing some of the issues that we find rife within these communities, and it is well overdue. I admit that the previous government had intentions of introducing this, but the previous parliament ran out of time. There have been some other moves within the Ceduna area and within Yalata to address some of the social issues around grog running.

The cashless welfare card, which was introduced by the federal government, has been very topical and has not suited everyone, but I can guarantee the house that Ceduna is a different place for it. It means that those who are issued with a cashless welfare card are able to access just 20 per cent of their government payments in cash. This limits the amount of money that is available for grog, cigarettes and any other substance, gambling or anything else they may care to pursue.

Yalata is an interesting community. It is inhabited by around 250 or 300 Anangu people, who were originally desert people. They were a tribe of the Pitjantjatjara and were caught up in the Maralinga test site in the early 1950s. In 1952, they were relocated from their Western Desert home down to Yalata, west of Ceduna, as a result of the British bomb testing. They found themselves relocated to a camp that was not their home, and it became very difficult for them. Sixty-five years on, any original inhabitants would be elderly and would barely have a memory of their homeland, but the call of home is strong.

Oak Valley was established in 1955 and some of the Anangu people left Yalata to set up a new home there. It is further north and closer to their land, and they are much happier there. I have only visited Oak Valley once; I have of course visited Yalata on a number of occasions. My first official visit to Yalata was in 2011 when the previous government opened a new police station. Unfortunately, the previous station had burned down, so we ventured out and opened the new police station, which still stands as a beacon amongst the community.

The Australian Army has been active at Yalata during the past year. Yalata was visited by prime minister Turnbull and minister Scullion prior to the Army’s visit. Over the past 12 months, Yalata has received assistance from Army personnel and will also be receiving $7 million—including $1.1 million from this state government—for improvements in infrastructure, health and education services. It is a dynamic community. I would urge anyone who is driving past to ask, knock on the door and go in and say hello.

Desley Culpin is CEO of the Yalata Anangu Aboriginal Community and she does a sterling job. She is well known amongst Adelaide people as she was a local and friends with a few of the MPs in this house. Pastor Russell Bryant, Chair of the Yalata Aboriginal Community, visited this place not too long ago, and we were lucky enough to meet with the Premier. The Premier is of course also the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and intends to visit Yalata and the Far West as soon as he can.

They are doing a lot of work to reinvigorate tourism within the community. They manage the Head of Bight tourism attraction, which is growing in popularity each and every year. It is whale calving season from around May through to September, and thousands of people visit on an annual basis to see that activity. All in all, the community is going particularly well at the moment, and I think this piece of legislation will assist in the management of that community. Grog running will be less likely to occur, and if it is undertaken it is more likely to be caught. As such, it will have less of an impact on the lives of the people within the community.

 

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