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The remote Aboriginal community of Tjuntjuntjara, 550km east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia,has been declared a dry community.
Community leaders wrote to Minister for Racing and Gaming, Terry Waldron asking that he impose the ban on 55,000 square kilometres of Spinifex Native Title Determination area.
Minister Waldron flew to Tjuntjuntjara last week for discussions with the community, and decided the ban will go ahead. Once officially signed off on, taking alcohol into the banned area or possessing or consuming alcohol will be punishable by fines of up to $2000.
Tourists travelling along the Anne Beadell Highway to the north of Tjuntjuntjara won't be affected, Minister Waldron said, as there will be a 50 metre allowance zone either side of the road.
Minister Waldron said his department had consulted closely with the community, the Shire of Menzies, the police and the drug and alcohol, health and mental health offices before visiting Tjuntjuntjara. 'I went to visit the community to make sure they understand what it means, are committed to it and have the leadership and willingness to make it work.' he said.
'They want to maintain their healthy community, particularly the children and make sure they are well looked after, that the health of the community is better and that the children get the schooling they need.' stated Minister Waldron. He said he was impressed with the initiative of Tjuntjuntjara leaders.
'I was very heartened by Tjuntjuntjara because they seem to have strong leadership, strong support out there, a terrific school, a great arts program, they are certainly committed to making this work.'
Source: ABC Goldfields