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Umoona wants to go Dry

At a Special Meeting on August 29, the District Council of Coober Pedy voted to support the Umoona Community Council in their bid to introduce a Dry Area on the Umoona Land.

The Motion "That Council supports the introduction of a Dry Area at the Umoona Community for an initial period of twelve (12) months" was moved by Cr Maylin and seconded by Cr P Athanasiadis

The following Notes of discussion with invited guests regarding the proposal to introduce a Dry Area at the Umoona Community are provided courtesy of Council Executive Assistant Lyn Freeman.

Invited Guests

Mr Bill Pryor Liquor & Gambling Commissioner

Senior Sergeant Mark Weaver Officer-in-Charge, Coober Pedy Police

Ms Sharon Meagher Dept Aboriginal Affairs & Reconciliation

Mr Allan Walhert CEO, Umoona Community

Mr Robin Walker Umoona Council Elected Member

Caz Pellow Manager Umoona Sobering-up Centre

Mr Wahlert advised that Mrs Mabel Lochowiak, Chairperson Umoona Council, extended her apology as she was unable to attend the meeting.

The Mayor invited Mr Wahlert to explain to the meeting why the Umoona Council

wishes to be a Dry Area. Mr Wahlert referred the question to Robin Walker.

Robin Walker

The old people at the Umoona Community have asked for a Dry Area. They are

concerned about the murders, rapes, stabbings, stealing etc. The people of Umoona Community have moved a motion that the area be declared dry.

Bill Pryor

Advised the meeting that the Dry Area at Umoona has nothing to do with the Liquor Licensing Commission as Umoona comes under the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

Cr M Maylin

Why can’t Umoona Community be split into 2 areas. A dry area and a drinking area?

Robin Walker

Advised that in his opinion this would not stop the violence. We must work together. He then asked Council to support Umoona’s plan to trial a Dry Area for twelve months.

Cr R Wardle

Enquired if there has been a safe drinking area put aside for the people.

Cr P Athanasiadis

Asked Mr Walker if, in his opinion, the issue is mainly with the transient people from the Lands causing the problems.

Robin Walker

Advised that that no drinking area has been looked at and that the problems are mainly caused by the people coming down from the Lands.

Cr B Rapaic

His opinion was that he didn’t think a dry area at Umoona would work.

Robin Walker

Replied that he thought that some sort of Social Club, where the people could go and drink, could be the answer.

Cr P Athanasiadis

Enquired as to where this Social Club would be set up. On Umoona?

Robin Walker

His opinion was that it would need to be in the town area.

Mayor S Baines

Said that it seemed to him that the focus would be on drinking

Robin Walker

Disagreed as the Social Club would be for all aboriginal people

Mayor S Baines

Asked if that could work so well in Coober Pedy, why don’t they have Social Clubs on the Lands.

Robin Walker

Indicated that he didn’t know and that he couldn’t speak for what happens on the Lands

Bill Pryor

Advised that in his opinion, a Dry Area at Umoona Community could be a powerful deterrent to stop the people coming down from the Land.

Mayor S Baines

Indicated that he fully supports the concept of a Dry Area at Umoona Community

Cr M Maylin

Asked Senior Sergeant Mark Weaver if we have enough police in Coober Pedy to police the proposal

Senior Sergeant Weaver

Advised that we need to be aware of the extra pressure it would put on police. As

things stand at the moment police are very cautious about going to Umoona at night as they are being stoned and abused. This proposal would only make matters worse.

Robin Walker

Indicated that some years ago they had "Rostered Officers" on duty at Umoona. What is needed is to get the security people to come in and teach our young people to keep the peace.

Bill Pryor

Suggested that the police have to do their patrols etc anyway.

Sharon Meagher

Advised that she is working on this proposal for the Minister. She said that Council and Umoona need to work on this together. They also need to read a report that she has sighted from 2000.

Cr M Maylin

Asked why doesn’t Umoona set up a Bush Camp 20 km out of town. Take the drunks out there and make them stay 4 / 5 days. Programs such as get them to cut wood for the old people may help.

Robin Walker

Said they are looking into that. He said that it is time for the Coober Pedy Aboriginals to stand up and say that enough is enough.

Senior Sergeant Mark Weaver

Told Mr Walker that the Coober Pedy Aboriginals are causing trouble as well.

Robin Walker

Agreed that is true but it is mainly the Transient people

Sharon Meagher

Said that any drinking camp must be set up close to medical help, the MAPS program etc. It must have shade areas and water on tap.

Allan Walhert

Advised that he has worked in Aboriginal Communities for many years. He said that in his opinion these camps always fail.

Cr P Athanasiadis

Suggested that this was surely dependant upon good management.

Mayor S Baines

Asked who is going to make these people go out to the camps

Cr P Athanasiadis

Asked Mr Walker it the problems had worsened since the Aboriginal Lands has been made a Dry Area.

Robin Walker

Agreed. The Lands people do not just come to Coober Pedy to drink. They come down for medical treatment, at tax time and when they get their holiday pay.

Council CEO Trevor McLeod

Brought Cr Wardle up to date on what has been happening in regard to the Umoona Dry Area in her absence. (Cr Wardle has been working in Port Lincoln) and asked Robin Walker if the Dry Area proposal would be a blanket coverage ie, drinking not allowed in private housing as well as the ‘public areas’ of Umoona.

Robin Walker

Advised that it was blanket coverage. He then asked if Council would support the

Umoona proposal for a Dry Area for 12 months without the benefit of safe drinking areas etc.

Trevor McLeod

Enquired from Mr Pryor that if Council did not agree to the proposal, would that place the Coober Pedy Town Dry Area in jeopardy?

Bill Pryor

Replied that this would depend on the reasons Council did not agree to the proposal.

Sharon Meagher

Said that her responsibility is to Umoona Council. In her opinion Council and Umoona should sit down and talk about the 3 models referred to in the 2000 Report.

Mayor S Baines

Replied that Council is open to suggestions.

Caz Pellow

Asked if the Sobering-up Centre and MAPS could be on the Committee of the Alcohol Management Group.

Mayor S Baines

Replied that they are.

Cr P Athanasiadis

Why didn’t Council and Umoona get together every 2 months or so?

Allan Walhert

Indicated that was a very good idea. He has worked on Communities where this

happened and it worked very well.

Sharon Meagher

Advised that she will send some information and examples of this type of partnership arrangement.

Mayor Baines thanked those in attendance for their positive input.

Old Chrysler

Passing through Coober Pedy en route Alice Springs, with the Adelaide Hills Motor Restorers Club, Les Johnson and friend Bob, in Les's Chrysler Restorers Club of Australia vehicle No. B35.

Les made a boo boo that day so he had to wear the 'boo boo' hat.


Gambling Counsellor for Coober Pedy Amended Statement

In issue No. 88, 19th August, the Coober Pedy News published a statement provided by the Department for Families and Communities concerning counselling for gamblers in Coober Pedy, and a comment made by Mr Kevin Woon regarding the statement.

The Senior Media Advisor for the Department has today issued a slightly amended statement:

Leeanne Head, Director, Community Connect within the Department for Families and Communities, said Coober Pedy was one of the DFC’s priority areas for extending problem gambling services.

"In addition to the Gambling Helpline – a 24-7 freecall phone counselling service for problem gamblers and their families across the State, the DFC is negotiating to establish gambling counselling in the Children Youth and Family Services office at Coober Pedy," Ms Head said.

Previously, the Department provided an outreach gambling counselling service in Coober Pedy. It involved a counsellor, based in Whyalla, travelling weekly by air with the Royal Flying Doctors Service. This arrangement ended in 2001. In 2004, Nunkuwarrin Yunti problem gambling service staff visited Coober Pedy to conduct community education workshops for Aboriginal community workers to help them educate the community and raise awareness.




SA Local Government Grants Commission Visit

Every three years the Commission visits local councils, providing opportunity for local government and the public to find out how the Commission arrives at its recommendation for allocation of Commonwealth funds coming through State government to local governments.

Coober Pedy's 2005/06 Allocation was:
General Purpose Grant $696,249
Roads Grant $37,615

One of the factors used in the formula to calculate each council's Grant is Population, based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)  Census. The number for Coober Pedy is a little over 2000. Cr Mike Maylin told Jane Gascoigne, Executive Officer of the Commission that this number is not realistic for Coober Pedy. Mayor Baines, Manager of the local Post Office Agency said that the real population was more like 3000 to 3500.

Council was told that until the ABS found out how to more correctly assess the population of Coober Pedy, the current 2000 figure would be used. 

Cr Maylin suggested that an education program be run for ethnic and Aboriginal groups, to help them better appreciate the likely benefit to Coober Pedy if their population numbers in the census were accurate.



Don't let worry kill you off. Let the Church help.

Wednesday, the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing "Put Me In My Little Bed" accompanied by the pastor.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Adultery-Only Divorce Blog -

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