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Sydney councillor’s call for Waterloo wet centre

Sydney Greens councillor Irene Doutney is calling for the creation of a wet centre near Waterloo Green for alcohol-dependant locals reports Robert Burton-Bradley in Central of 28 April 2009.

Cr Doutney said the centre would be a place where people could consume alcohol in a controlled environment without creating a public nuisance of themselves.

According to Cr Doutney the creation of alcohol-free zones, supported by police and Sydney Council, would not solve the problem of public alcohol consumption, but rather move it to other areas where the problem would repeat itself.

“People will still drink. The only thing that makes a zone work is the policing. A sign makes no difference at all,” Cr Doutney said.

“It’s just another targeted action at Waterloo Green, so they will move elsewhere like Waterloo Park or Redfern Park.’’

Cr Doutney said The Green had suffered years of neglect and she wanted to see the recent promise of millions of dollars in Federal funds for upgrades to public housing spent on maintenance and services for residents of the area, such as a wet centre.

“Street drinkers have become an ongoing social problem on Waterloo Green and the introduction of alcohol-free zones will make their existence untenable,” she said.

“As street drinkers become more and more marginalised by anti-drinking strategies like alcohol-free zones, it is important that we provide a safe place for them where they will have access to some kind of support and amenity.

“Without some alternative, dedicated street drinkers will be driven underground and will have little or no hope of health support or rehabilitation.”

Photo: Phil Rogers - Sydney councillor Irene Doutney says street drinkers need support services and not just to be moved-on.