The aim of this project was to form a partnership with government and non-government agencies to implement a whole-community plan to reduce alcohol misuse within the region. The project included three key elements to achieve its goals. Firstly, the partnership aimed to purchase and establish a ‘Safe House’ to be used as a short stay facility for people of Tjuntjuntjarra and Coonana, who otherwise sleep rough when in town. The ‘Safe House’ would improve the health and safety as well as increasing public order, decreasing crime and improving public perception. Secondly, the partnership outlined the design of an interpretive garden that would promote reconciliation within the community. Thirdly, the partnership sought to amplify the local library service, by providing an information unit focusing on alcohol, other drugs, and their impacts.
More than 2000 people have visited the interpretive garden each year since it opened in 2006. Its community appeal, enhanced through the use of native plants, makes it a safe, alcohol-free, and attractive recreational space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It has received positive feedback from visitors and the local community. The garden is of ongoing benefit as it offers visitors the chance to learn about and appreciate Aboriginal culture. In this way it also supports the Reconciliation aims of the project.
The Alcohol and Other Drug Information Unit was established at the William Grundt Memorial Library in September 2005. It provides current and evidence-based information about alcohol and drug-related issues as well as available support services. The information is free, readily accessible and available in a non-threatening and semi-anonymous manner. The library’s records systems offers ongoing feedback regarding the frequency of use of materials.
The ‘Safe House’ element of the project started strongly with the community consultation, leading to the purchase of transportable buildings. Unfortunately, due to high operational costs and a lack of ongoing funding, this section of the program was discontinued.
Project date: 2006-2009
Organisation: National Drug Research Institute (NDRI), Curtin University