Pubdate: Thu, 29 Jun 2006
Source: Australian, The (Australia)
Address: Box 339 GPO Adelaide, SA 5001
Fax: (08) 8206-3688
Copyright: 2006 The Australian
Author: AAP


BANNING drug users and dealers from Melbourne's western suburbs would 
generate a "seagull effect" as the problem would move elsewhere, says 
prominent outreach worker Les Twentyman. Using court orders to stop 
people from entering certain suburbs if they are caught using or 
dealing drugs also would isolate them from services set up to help 
them, Mr Twentyman said. His comments follow a report in today's 
Herald Sun newspaper, which says Victoria Police is set to launch 
Project Reduction which will encompass nine drugs-plagued suburbs and 
impact on non-residents only. "About four or five years ago in 
(Sydney's) Cabramatta they had a similar plan where young people were 
banned from coming into the CBD ... for up to 28 days," Mr Twentyman 
told the Nine Network today. "The effect was that young people 
couldn't access the services, particularly Centrelink which meant if 
they didn't put in their dole form they were cut off ... it put them 
back into drug and gang activity." Mr Twentyman said his Open Family 
organisation offered a service in the city's west which saw a doctor 
provide aid to 50 drug-addicted young people every week, while needle 
exchange programs also operated in the affected area. "I can 
understand the frustration of police.

I live out there and it is so sad to see how big the problem is," Mr 
Twentyman said. "(But) it will become a seagull effect, going from 
one area to the next. "What do you do then, ban it from that area?" 
Mr Twentyman said it was the high youth unemployment rate, at above 
50 per cent in Melbourne's west, that was the real cause of drug use. 
"I don't know of one young person who likes being addicted or 
dependant on drugs. " ... they haven't got a job, and therefore they 
don't think they've got an identity." Project Reduction, which begins 
on Saturday, will cover nine suburbs in the city's west: Footscray, 
West Footscray, Braybrook, Yarraville, Maidstone, Tottenham, Seddon, 
Kingsville and Maribyrnong.
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