I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation a question about the Adelaide City Council Victoria Square dry zone?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have already asked a couple of questions about this subject in this place. One of them I have had a reply to, and one of them is still awaiting reply. I note that the chair of the Social Inclusion Board, Monsignor David Cappo, has made some calls recently in relation to this issue, and they were reported in the City Messenger of 7 October. I refer to an article therein where he stated that the dry zone should be scrapped. The article also stated:
. . . discussions are urgently needed to establish measures to ensure crime and anti-social behaviour does not return to the square. . . ‘it’s a racially discriminatory policy and it should not be there. . . The racial overtone was there right from the beginning but it has reduced crime and people being accosted in Victoria Square.
We need to lift the bad public policy but we have to make sure the situation doesn’t return where we have inappropriate behaviour back.’ Monsignor Cappo said the state government needed to sit down with prominent Aboriginal people to work on a solution to ensure the dry zone could be lifted without any backlash.
My questions are:
1. Does the minister agree with Monsignor Cappo’s comments that the policy is racially discriminatory?
2. Has the minister met with Aboriginal people as has been suggested?
3. What progress has been made regarding the crossagency strategy which is referred to in a reply to my question on notice on this matter of 22 July 2004 regarding transitional accommodation to address people sleeping in the parklands?
The reply stated, ‘Cross-agency strategies are being investigated to tackle this issue. This includes providing transitional accommodation for homeless and itinerant people.’
4. What progress has been made on that initiative? Is it in place? Have the agencies received funding?
5. When will the government tell the public what is happening in relation to the dry zone in Victoria Square?
The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation): Many of those questions fall under the portfolio of the Minister for Families and Communities, who is handling the cross-agency negotiations. In relation to the position of Aboriginal people and whether the declaration of the dry zone is racially motivated, that is certainly not the case. It is not the case that only Aboriginal people drink or were drinking in the Victoria Square zone; it was homeless non-Aboriginal people as well. It was not aimed solely at Aboriginal people in the square, although many transitional people were identified who gathered there.
Again, many of the people who gathered there did not do so to consume alcohol, but there were certainly some issues with those who over-consumed and who became public nuisances in that region. Local government bodies, the Adelaide City Council and many other agencies have been working on a suite of solutions, including transitional housing for women. There certainly has been a build-up of services provided by the non-government organisations (NGOs) in Wright Street, and I invite honourable members to visit the Wesley service and other non-government agencies that have started to cater for homeless people in that area.
One issue that needs examination and a solution is the aggregating of people in the West Parklands who may have been more visible in the inner city area. There is still an issue relating to that. The other agency programs I will refer to the Minister for Families and Communities.
Thursday 14 April 2005
In reply to Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (28 October 2004).
The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS: The Minister for Housing has advised that:
Safe, affordable and suitable shelter is only one aspect of responding to and alleviating the impact of homelessness and transience. In addition to providing accommodation, support services designed to support transition pathways between transitional and other forms of housing are being developed through the implementation of the Inner City Services Strategic Plan 2004-2007.
In October 2004, the Department for Families and Communities released the Inner City Services Strategic Plan to significantly improve services provided to the homeless and other people in need in the inner city.
A range of actions were implemented in 2003-04 and services were developed in a coordinated manner; in some instances services began working differently to support new projects or service development, with and without additional funding.
Initiatives that have received additional funding include:
the Day Centre Case Coordination Project;
service establishment and evaluation of the Stabilisation Centre;
client brokerage funds for the Stabilisation Centre;
additional community liaison positions;
WestCare Day Centre service development;
the Parkland Response Project;
the Indigenous Inner City Workers Network; and
the Infrastructure and Service Development City Homeless Assessment and Support Team.
Further to this, the Government recently announced Cabinet approval for funding of $780,000 for the establishment of a Public Intoxication Facility, a drug and alcohol in-reach' service provided at the CityWatch House for people detained under the Public Intoxication Act.
Through the implementation of the Inner City Services Strategic Plan over the next three years, further initiatives involving cross agency responses will be developed to respond to the most marginalised of the inner city population.
The Aboriginal Housing Authority (AHA) has developed an accommodation and service system model to respond to the state-wide issues of Indigenous transience and mobility.
The model links with the ongoing implementation of the Inner City Services Strategic Plan and a range of initiatives and developments that have already been actioned.
Further to this, the AHA will be conducting a presentation to the Adelaide City Council in February 2005 on the model, to fully involve and inform the Council in the development of a range of accommodation options.
Through the development of a partnership with all the inner city service providers, the AHA will explore the reasons why some current short-term accommodation options are not being accessed by public place dwellers and how those existing accommodation options might be better utilised to provide short-term options, which may also involve the development of specific accommodation options.
The feasibility and desirability of these options are currently being explored by the AHA.
The AHA is preparing a scoping report to examine the transitional accommodation proposal in more detail.