Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Davenport Community

In reply to the Hon. L.A. HENDERSON ().22 March 2023).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): I am advised:

1. The government is addressing the concerns raised by Davenport community members about youth services by providing extra funding to the Port Augusta Youth Centre to extend its hours of operation by an additional three days per week. This means the centre will be open Tuesday to Saturday 6pm to 10pm, with transport available from Davenport Community and home again. The government also provided additional funding over the summer holiday period to make sure the centre was open and available to young people.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is working with youth service providers in Port Augusta to expand recreational and diversion activities available to families from the Davenport Community. DHS will also partner with a non-government organisation to support young people in the community to access and participate in sports through grants towards registration fees, costs associated with uniforms and equipment purchase.

The state government is in the final stages of implementing a partial alcohol dry zone at Davenport, something sought by the community for many years. The dry zone model was co-designed by the community and will provide a health-focused response for problem drinkers, directing them towards support and recovery rather than the criminal justice system.

2. In addition to increases in government funding for the above, the DHS, as the government agency leading the Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce, is rolling out the following programs across Port Augusta and Davenport:

Port Augusta Intensive Youth response

This response aims to bring together key agencies including SAPOL, Education, SA Housing Authority, Child Protection, Safer Family Services and Youth Justice to provide intensive case management support for young people who are regularly interacting with the criminal justice system. This coordinated approach aims to improve outcomes for children and young people in Port Augusta and Davenport who are a risk to themselves and/or the community, and to identify practical responses to systemic issues.

Youth outreach service

This program will consist of outreach workers and a bus patrol that is able to support at-risk young people who are unsupervised in public places after school hours. Outreach workers will drive and walk around Port Augusta and Davenport engaging with young people and transporting them back home or to a safer place. The outreach team are also able to help connect young people through referrals to support services and programs.

3. The government provides funding to the Aboriginal Lands Trust to manage the land under its care and control. The trust has recently advised the state government that the Davenport Community Centre is currently in good condition. The trust has appointed an external manager under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 2013to manage Davenport trust land. The manager and the trust work together to ensure that Davenport Community is safe and clean.

4. The Port Augusta Community Outreach Response is led by DHS, which provides a whole-of-government response to address antisocial behaviour associated with visitors to the Davenport Community from remote Aboriginal communities.

The government is currently seeking to establish an Implementation and Monitoring Working Group to oversee the commencement and operation of the Davenport Dry Zone scheme. Local leaders will work with community service providers, SA Police and Drug and Alcohol Services, the commonwealth government, the trust and others to implement this health-based approach to assisting both problem drinkers and the Davenport Community.

The underlying social and economic challenges in the Davenport Community and First Nations people in the region are longstanding and complex. Addressing them effectively is an iterative process that takes time, persistence, and a holistic community response. The state government will continue to ensure responses are multi-agency, collaborative, coordinated and flexible. The government's responses will always seek to embed Aboriginal community leadership, cultural authority, and appropriate cultural frameworks.