At a community meeting in the town squareof Aurukun, Mayor Derek Walpo tells the crowd, that normalising drinking, educating people how it could be done safely and responsibly in a social setting, was the way forward.
The grandmothers, who had been present in 1985 when the first liquor outlet was opened shook their heads.
The grandmothers worry that the protections, set up under an existing Alcohol Management Plan, (AMP} which set a new benchmarks for community safety in Aurukun, will now be dismantled. They are afraid that the things of the past will return.
Mr Walpo rejects this. “The AMP wasn’t properly implemented, that’s why we have these problems,” he said. “It’s not about reopening the tavern, it’s about all-round education”. Educating the people how to drink responsibly and sociably in a social environment. If the event works we will look at running it again … probably around something else, maybe a “Saturday afternoon footy game.”
The session planned for next month would be tightly controlled. Mr Walpo argued. Drinkers would be allowed a maximum of six mid-strength beers over three hours, served with a meal. If there was any trouble the event would be shut down.
Voting forms were circulated so the townsfolk could have their say on whether the “alcohol event” should go ahead.
Not everybody agreed.
Watching on, a local Mr Korkatain said: “It might be my right (to drink) but it is also my right to make sure my family is safe and our children go to school. It is not my role to educate people how to drink
The Mayor of Aurukun Derick Walpo, speaking to Greg Reid on Black Star Radio today said, that people misinterpreted the fund raising event to the re opening of the tavern.
He said that, meeting on the 31st May would be held and a press release would follow and everyone could read the press release in the paper.
Listen here to Mayor Derick Walpo here