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Public Drinking Strategy 2008-2011 Georgie Hill Coordinator, Safer Communities and Health Promotion Tuesday 3 March, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Drinking Strategy 2008-2011 Georgie Hill Coordinator, Safer Communities and Health Promotion Tuesday 3 March, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Drinking Strategy Georgie Hill Coordinator, Safer Communities and Health Promotion Tuesday 3 March, 2009

2 Overview Defining Public Drinking History and context Research: people drinking in public Strategy framework and actions Public consultation Where to now Challenges, learnings and complexities

3 Defining Public Drinking The consumption of alcohol in a public area: Leads to tension between the people drinking and other stakeholders over the shared utilisation of space Leads to significant public perception of reduced safety Has a negative impact upon amenity in that location Is occurring in a designated alcohol restriction zone.

4 History and context Long history of public drinking in Footscray Trial local law introduced in 2003 Evaluation recognised limited impact Local law expanded in 2005 Environmental modifications – ie relocation of public seating Highly politicised issue

5 Burnet Institute Research Aims understanding of the people engaged in public drinking daily lives and culture of people who drink in public public drinkers’ experiences of public drinking regulations public drinkers’ perceptions of service and amenity needs

6 Burnet Institute Research Methodology Observations to contextualise the setting 30 on street in depth structured interviews with people engaged in public drinking Participants paid with $30 coles vouchers August – September 2007

7 Burnet Institute Research Key Findings 3 main locations – Railway Reserve, Nicholson Street, Nicholson Street Mall 3 main social sets: –Nicholson Street between Paisley and Irving (predominately older southern European background) –Railway Reserve (park drinkers) –Primary heroin users – moved around Footscray CBD

8 Burnet Institute Research Key Findings Across the three groups, the majority of the sample: Was male Born in Australia Self-identified as having Australian ethnicity Lived in Footscray or its immediate surrounds (60% resided in Footscray/West Footscray) 20% homeless & 27% lived in 4 or more places in last 12 months

9 Burnet Institute Research Key Findings 90% on benefits or pensions Most common reason for coming to Footscray is social interaction Alcohol related violence was usually intra- group 76.6% knew about the local law

10 What happened next… Council moved a motion to refer issue to Safety Taskforce and Drug Reference Group Held meeting with service providers Joint meeting of MST and DRG chaired by the Mayor Internal consultation with key staff Preliminary results to Council in April

11 Public Policy Tensions Acceptable public drinking vs unacceptable public drinking Liberalisation of liquor laws vs control of public spaces Beautification of space vs social exclusion Personal values vs organisational values

12 Public Drinking Strategy Framework Advocacy, Partnerships and Collaboration Local Image and Community Safety Community Information Positive Opportunities and Primary Prevention Alcohol Related Harm in Public Places Access to Services

13 Advocacy, Partnership, Collaboration Monitor trends Advocate for resources Ensure clear communication pathways with stakeholders Advocate to consumer affairs victoria re educational material provided to packaged liquor outlets

14 Local Image and Community Safety Promoting positive images of Footscray Enforce local law Write to Police Chief Commissioner re Police resources Investigate other models ie CCTV, Safe Shop, community ambassador Training for traders Public mediation session

15 Community Information Communication methods for health and treatment options to public drinkers Promote information on how to respond to anti-social beahviour Promotion of strategies Promote local law restriction zone

16 Positive Opportunities and Primary Prevention Employment and training opportunities Integration with affordable housing strategy Promote community grants program Investigate affordable alternative recreation opportunities

17 Alcohol Related Harm in Public Places Liquor licence forum – engagement of packaged liquor outlets Install drinking fountain in Railway Reserve Responsible service of alcohol training Guidelines on number of type of licensed venues in Footscray

18 Access to Services Enhance service system through review of capacity, improved coordination and source funding Improve access to emergency food relief Investigate the application of social health models ie wet centres

19 Public Consultation Written survey distributed to traders In depth interviews with 11 members of FTA Community discussion group On the street interviews with community Community surveys – website & community information points Service providers and other organisations Trader forum organised by local MP and Police

20 Questions – public consultation I feel safe around public drinkers in the Footscray CBD Anti-social behaviour is of greater concern than the act of drinking itself It is important to minimise the harm that public drinking causes to drinkers Public drinking is a health problem that requires a response from health and social services Public drinking is a criminal issue and needs firm policing People drinking in public areas have human rights that need to be protected

21 Public Consultation – Results Proposed actions were generally supported Anti-social behaviour associated with public drinking and drug use is significant concern Perceptions of safety are low (68% of traders do not feel safe in Footscray) Heightened awareness about public drinking – contributing to poor image of Footscray Traders and residents find it difficult to distinguish between drugs or alcohol as being the cause of bad or anti social behaviour observed in the Footscray CBD Understanding of the complexity

22 Where we are up to… Plan adopted in August 2008 Perceptions of Safety Project with Andrea Cook Linking social issues to Transit Cities Ongoing advocacy to Police– blitz in January A series of public events and activities in Footscray ‘Night Life Project’ - a long term installation of laser lights above Nicholson Street Mall Re-established the Liquor Licensing Forum Social impact assessment as part of Footscray Renewal Developing a Footscray Marketing Strategy and Footscray Retail Strategy

23 Challenges, Learnings and Complexities There is no one “quick fix” solution Local governments govern for all – minority and majority Personal values sometimes outweigh evidence Polarised views and opinions across Council and the community Approach needs to be commensurate, flexible and responsive to the changing nature intensity of public drinking and profile of public drinkers

24 Georgie Hill Coordinator Safer Communities and Health Promotion PH


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