Mark Moran writes in Inside Story (10.3.16) about the problematic issue for government of alcohol management in Queensland’s remote Indigenous communities.
‘When Kowanyama’s first canteen opened in 1973 it was little more than a window, with a noisy throng of men outside, all flashing cans and elbows. Officers from Queensland’s Aboriginal affairs department rationed out the daily limit, which began at two cans per person, increased over time to four, and then settled on six. If there was any misbehaviour in the community, the ration was decreased for everyone. All six cans were opened and passed to you in one go, to be consumed before you left. You sat with your cargo, guarding it until it was gone.
‘Through the 1980s, the Bjelke-Petersen government promoted community canteens as a means for Aboriginal community councils to raise funds to pay for local services. Leading the way was the ubiquitous Russ Hinze, the “Minister for Everything,” with his diverse portfolio of local government, roads, racing and police.’