A state premier is considering bringing in alcohol restrictions to help curb booze-fuelled violence in a country town, while the federal Nationals leader has called on the Prime Minister for help.
Western Australia’s Mark McGowan headed to his state’s Gascoyne region on Friday to visit Carnarvon, which has seen a spike in anti-social behaviour in previous months.
Speaking at a media conference on Monday, Mr McGowan said he used the trip to meet with a number of community leaders and stakeholders.
“Alcohol is a big problem in communities like Carnarvon,” he said.
“I saw that first-hand on Friday. But the difference between Carnarvon and the communities further to the north is that Carnarvon has not had any real restrictions or any rules in place around alcohol.
“So we’re now looking very closely at what else we can do in Carnarvon,” he said, adding he’ll also get advice on the situation in the Goldfields town of Laverton, where alcohol is causing similar problems.
“Some of the local licensees and suppliers have been keen … others haven’t, so when you can’t get consensus or agreement across the suppliers, I think it’s time for the government to intervene.”
Meanwhile, Nationals leader David Littleproud is urging Anthony Albanese to visit Carnarvon as he visits the west this week.
In a statement, Mr Littleproud said it’s disappointing the PM won’t visit the town, despite flying over it for a Cabinet meeting in Port Hedland on Tuesday.
“It’s heartbreaking to witness what this town is going through, because Carnarvon has incredible potential,” said Mr Littleproud, who touched down in the town himself on Sunday night.
He claimed Carnarvon Shire Council was calling on the federal government to introduce the cashless welfare card in the town, blaming the rise in crime in other WA towns on the removal of the scheme.
Mr McGowan wouldn’t be drawn on the cashless debit card issue when asked on Monday, calling it a “federal government matter”.
However, Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler was asked about the card by 6PR’s Gary Adshead on Monday morning.
Mr Butler pointed out while it wasn’t his portfolio, “we took a very clear commitment to the last election to abolish a card that a number of reports had said wasn’t working”.
“The report of the National Audit Office and a number of other pieces of research demonstrated it wasn’t doing the job it was intended to do,” he told Mr Adshead.
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