On 5 October, June Oscar AO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner delivered the Global Alcohol Policy Conference oration.
Ms Oscar shared her inspirational story about the journey she took alongside women in Fitzroy Crossing in tackling the grip that alcohol had on their community and changing cultures and behaviours around alcohol.
I want to shed light on the complex issues in our community such as alcohol consumption – we can’t shy away from these challenges but we must emphasise the great strengths that exist in our communities as well.
Ms Oscar went on to help listeners understand the severity of the situation in Fitzroy Crossing, and what drove them to respond.
Fifty-five people in our community died from alcohol related harm, including 13 people who took their own lives. This was a devastating time for our community. However, when you translate this cost in human and social terms over extended periods of time and in many cases, generations – the cost is catastrophic. We could see that alcohol was ravaging the circles of care that our women had worked so tirelessly to create. We knew we had to act, and that drastic action was necessary. In identifying this need, our women took an unprecedented step.
Read June Oscar’s full oration here.