Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 10
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 Mrs HICKEY (Barkly): Mr Deputy Speaker, certainly additional resources are welcome in addressing the social problems that we have in our community but, like the Leader of the Opposition, I believe those resources would be better provided to the police. Having said that, when I return to Tennant Creek, I will talk with the Julalikari Night Patrol people and the council about their views on how this would work and whether they could operate well together. Certainly, the police and the Julalikari Night Patrol have worked very well together and have achieved a great deal already in terms of curbing the excesses of alcohol-induced behaviour in Tennant Creek. Earlier this year, a 2-day seminar was held on the problems of public drunkenness in Tennant Creek. As the Minister for Correctional Services mentioned, Julalikari Council has put forward a series of proposals for reductions and changes in licensing hours to ameliorate some of the problems. That may not have an easy passage because, if I heard the minister correctly, some of his information about what Julalikari Council is proposing is a little out of date. I think Julalikari Council is going for an ambit claim on this to include all members of the community, not only what has been termed as the Julalikari community. What is meant by that is those people who live in dwellings that are administered through the Julalikari Council and visitors who are camping or staying in the town camps administered by Julalikari Council. Some more horse-trading will be occurring in relation to the conditions that will be imposed. If we look at those conditions, and the history of what gave rise to the 2-day seminar, the reason behind them was largely that we did not have a sufficiently effective police force in the community to deal with the problem. The 2 km law was not being enforced and problems of littering, public drunkenness and antisocial behaviour were not being addressed because there were insufficient police to man street patrols. Fortunately, an additional 4 police officers will be in town very soon and that will return police numbers in Tennant Creek to what they were several years ago. Whether that will be sufficient to allow for street patrols and for officers who might deal particularly with problems relating to juveniles is debatable. Juvenile offences are prevalent in communities such as Tennant Creek. To have de facto police appointed through the town council is a questionable approach. It might work, but I believe there will be some challenges ahead because, without pussyfooting around on this subject, in this case we really are targeting mainly Aboriginal people in the community. Those are the people who have been seen as committing the antisocial behaviour. I hate that term and I will talk more about that in a minute. Those are the people who have been targeted for attention in this way. The Julalikari Night Patrol may very well consider that it is more appropriate for it to have an officer who can address specifically the matter of consumption of alcohol in areas that contravene the 2 km law. With one officer only in Tennant Creek, covering a 24-hour period obviously will be impossible, yet the problems in the town occur almost around the clock. There are probably peak periods. There are periods during the afternoons when people are in the drain areas, in areas near the town camps and on vacant lots. Some people put their wine in coca-cola cans. It appears that they are drinking coke whereas they are probably drinking moselle. It would be impossible for one person to patrol and take action around the clock. I do not know how effective one person would be. Obviously, they will have some impact. What will the officer do if people resist efforts to dispose of the alcohol? How much protection will this officer have? What training will the officer be given? I hope that a great deal will be sorted out before we see these new officers hit the streets. 3258
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