“Simply being intoxicated in public should not be a crime” – that’s what the Victorian Government stated after they legalised public drunkenness at the beginning of November.
The reform responds to extensive Aboriginal community advocacy and action and key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, transitioning to a health-led response.
Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, Gaelle Broad, says she believes the state government rushed the rollout of this law change before the support services could be put in place.
Broad says the police have raised concerns over the law change.
Dedicated services will provide support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across eight key areas in Regional Victoria:
- Geelong – Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative
- Ballarat – Ballarat and Districts Aboriginal Cooperative
- Bendigo – Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative
- Shepparton – Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative
- Mildura – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation, supported by Mildura Base Hospital
- Swan Hill – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation
- Latrobe – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation
- East Gippsland – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation
There will also be 24/7 outreach services available for the general public across Melbourne and a sobering centre in Collingwood.