By Ian Neubauer
The AHA has called for the Western Australian Government to ban the sale and supply of alcohol to pregnant women in Halls Creek and make the consumption of alcohol by pregnant women in the town a crime.
AHA Western Australia CEO Bradley Woods called for the ban after an ABC report exposed concerns that excessive alcohol consumption by expectant mothers in the Kimberly town was leading to high rates of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
“It is a terrible tragedy that any child should be born with FAS and recent debate on the issue indicates that it is unfortunately a growing problem in some areas of the state,” he said.
“If we want to seriously prevent another generation of children suffering FAS, we must act now to stop at-risk, pregnant women living in Halls Creek from consuming alcohol.
“We need legislation to be in place so that we can refuse to sell alcohol to a specifically at-risk section of the community, namely pregnant women, without breaking State or Federal laws,” he said.
Woods said he hoped the proposal would receive support from government, health groups and indigenous leaders in Halls Creek.
But Halls Creek Hospital support service manager, Robyn Long, who sparred with Woods on the ABC’s Lateline last night, said liquor retailers were responsible for the town’s alcohol-related problems.
Long called for draconian restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Halls Creek similar to those imposed last year in the Kimberly town of Fitzroy Crossing.
She also called for the closure of a Halls Creek venue known colloquially as ‘The Animal Bar’, saying the name belittles aboriginal people.
The WA Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor refused comment on the matter today (Mar 25), saying it needed time to formulate an appropriate response.
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