Alice Springs pastors against alcohol carnage

“Twenty-four Central Australian Lutheran pastors have called on government leaders to take urgent action about alcohol abuse in Alice Springs.

In a co-signed letter to federal government ministers (including the prime minister), shadow ministers, senators and senior Northern Territory MLAs, the pastors described ‘the unfolding tragedy’ in the Centre and requested the federal and territory governments to reduce the all-day trade in alcohol in Alice Springs, close ‘hidden bars’, designate one day a week on which no takeaway alcohol can be sold, and better manage welfare payments in order to restrict the purchase of alcohol.”

(Lutheran Church of Australia Communications, 29 Jul. 2011, “Alcohol abuse an ‘unfolding tragedy’: pastors lobby governments for action”)

An Alice Springs pastor [Lutheran Pastor Basil Schild] is calling for serious change to Northern Territory alcohol laws to cut what he says is ongoing carnage.

Alcohol in an enormous industry but in Central Australia it is causing a particularly high rate of death.

Indigenous people there are 14 times as likely as other Australians to die from alcohol-related causes.

Lutheran Pastor Basil Schild has decided to speak out because he wants to stop burying his friends “In one year we had three members of the parish [who] were murdered, all of them by their partners who were drunk,” Pastor Schild said. He says he helped one woman bury her fifth and final son. All of their deaths were linked to alcohol.

Pastor Schild wants all businesses selling alcohol in Alice Springs – and the big beverage companies that produce the liquor – to take some responsibility for what happens after people walk out with their products.

“They’re selling an enormous volume of alcohol and surely, or perhaps not, perhaps their company boards are not aware of the carnage that their product is making.”

“But here we have like a mass euthanasia happening with people making huge profits, retailing to people substances that are killing them.

“So where’s the outcry about that?”

(Extracts from ABD News, Katrina Bolton, 19 Aug. 2010 “Grog problem in Alice like ‘a mass euthanasia’”)

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