A year after Wiluna's only pub closed, alcohol-related violence has only gotten worse – ABC Online

Health workers in one of the country’s most remote communities say the closure of the town’s only pub last year has led to an increase in alcohol-related violence.

The last remaining pub and licensed venue in Wiluna, 1,000 kilometres north-east of Perth, shut its doors in mid-2017 after years of financial troubles.

Staff working at the Ngangganawili Aboriginal Health Service, or NAHS, say the absence of a safe and public place to drink has prompted many to drive long distances to nearby towns for alcohol.

The service’s chief executive, Richard Whittington, said as a result the town’s alcohol-related problems, primarily domestic violence, have worsened since the pub closed.

“The amount of alcohol that’s coming into Wiluna has increased since the closure of the hotel,” Mr Whittington said.

“We see the effects of that at the medical service.

“Before you could go up there each day and just have a couple of drinks and go home. But now everything goes straight into the house, police don’t see what happens behind closed doors.”

NAHS bus driver Eric Simpson said he sees people getting into cars and going to get alcohol on his morning runs.

“And it’s not a little bit, it’s a lot. And it’s the spirits as well,” Mr Simpson said.

“When they had the pub, they had an accord where they could only drink so much and what they could drink. But now they can kill themselves with the alcohol they’re getting.”

‘The town’s full of grog’

At its heart, Wiluna is a close-knit community. But the availability of alcohol still has far-reaching consequences.

Wiluna has long been plagued by problems with alcohol, and restrictions were imposed a decade ago to curb them.

Gail Allison, a local health worker and member of the WA Aboriginal Advisory Council, said

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