Cummeragunja Community Drug Action Team

About this Item
SubjectsDrug Abuse; Petrol and Oil
SpeakersCatanzariti The Hon Tony

Page: 9783

    The Hon. TONY CATANZARITI [11.07 p.m.]: I wish to speak tonight about the recent launch of the "Dangers of Petrol Sniffing" pamphlet by the Cummeragunja Community Drug Action Team [CDAT]. I was recently invited to help launch this pamphlet at the Cummeragunja Family Fun Day ceremonies, and I would like to especially thank the Cummeragunja community for inviting me. It was an honour for me to be able to represent the Government at such an important event. I recognise that the New South Wales Government shares the desire for all the people in this State to live in a society free from drug problems. I am also sure that this desire is felt by everyone in our community. I recognise also that the causes of alcohol and drug use are very complex, and that they can result in significant harm to individuals, families, and communities, and I recognise that these problems have no single or simple solution. Alcohol and drug use problems are always complex, and it is very important that we take a strong approach to helping those who need it.

    Management of the impact of drugs and alcohol requires an integrated approach between all levels of government, the community, individuals, and businesses, and it is essential that this approach should be sensitive to local needs. Community Drug Action Teams are a key element of the New South Wales Government's drug strategy. They build strong local alliances and networks, they engage key stakeholders in the issue, and they educate the community on drug and alcohol-related issues. These are becoming extensive across the State. At present, more than 1,200 people are involved in more than 80 CDATs around New South Wales. The Cummeragunja CDAT, which was my host at these ceremonies, is an Aboriginal-specific CDAT that has been working on issues relating to alcohol and drug misuse in Cummeragunja since it formed in 2001.

    A range of people participate in this CDAT, including elders, the Cummeragunja Lands Council, the Community Development and Employment Program, the Greater Murray Area Health Service, as well as the Department of Education and Training. The Cummeragunja CDAT is involved in many local projects, including the successful Family Fun Days, one of which I had the pleasure of attending recently. It also organises school holiday programs, and it is now in the process of working towards the development of a youth space for the young people of the area.

    In fact, the Cummeragunja CDAT is a professional organisation that is doing so many good things that its work has attracted interest from Aboriginal groups in a number of places around New South Wales with regard to what it does and how it functions. That good work saw me in Cummeragunja for the launch of an excellent pamphlet. The development of the "Dangers of Petrol Sniffing" pamphlet is a partnership between the Cummeragunja CDAT and the Premier's Department, as a part of the Drugs and Community Action Strategy, which is managed by the Premier's Department. This strategy recognises the vital importance of developing local solutions to local issues.

    One of the strengths of the Cummeragunja CDAT is that it recognises that it is vital that issues of concern and solutions to them should come from the Aboriginal community itself first and that the community should be supported in this. To this end, the Cummeragunja Community Drug Action Team has developed a petrol sniffing information pamphlet for parents, in response to the concern of local families. The pamphlet explains the harm and effect of sniffing petrol, suggests reasons why people do it, and outlines support services that are available. The pamphlet has the paintings of a local artist, Rochelle Patton, to provide visual messages about the danger of petrol sniffing. It is an excellent production in every way.

    I would like to commend the CDAT members for their work in producing this pamphlet. In particular I would like to single out Jessie Cooper for her work in bringing families together to highlight their concerns. She put in a great deal of hard work, and it shows. It gave me great pleasure to launch the "Dangers of Petrol Sniffing" pamphlet. I am sure it will be a very useful resource for the Cummeragunja community and for other communities throughout New South Wales. I commend the CDAT and members of the Cummeragunja community.