Noel Hayman Oration – the contribution of NIDAC to Aboriginal alcohol and other drugs policy
The impact of alcohol and other drugs in Aboriginal Australia is traumatic indeed.
Over the years Governments have developed many policies and tried a variety of interventions but these are not hitting the mark and overall things are not getting better. Nevertheless, awareness of these issues within Aboriginal Australia has increased and Aboriginal people have shown considerable initiative in showing the way forward.
The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) was an important aspect of that initiative. NIDAC was established in 2005 and until it was abolished in 2014 made significant contributions to Aboriginal AOD policy. If we are to reduce the traumatic impact of AOD close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians by 2030, governments need to provide meaningful levels of funding and resources both to enhance their living conditions and to provide AOD specific services. Governments also need a special group of Australians to advise them about these issues – if not NIDAC then a similar group that has at its base a majority of Aboriginal Australians.
Yes we need the support and understanding of governments but as I have always said Aboriginal Australians must control the pathways out of poverty; particularly the pathways out of the poverty caused by AOD.