Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 out. Other remote health issues are also being researched by staff within the institution, and I note the presence of Professor John Wakerman in the Chamber. Alice in 10 was a project initiated by the CLP government. Over the last five years of its life, it has gained strong support from the community. Through the unselfish contribution of its many community members and the public servants who sat on its many committees, it has developed several projects, the most noticeable o f which is the Desert Knowledge project. We all acknowledge the importance of the project to Central Australia and I wish it all the greatest success in the coming years. However, I wish to note that other than the Desert Knowledge project, much o f Alice in 10 has been languishing. Yesterday, we heard about the Alice Springs indigenous employment challenge at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast. This new project gives me deja vu. I recall a similar project launched by the Senator John Herron, at the then Vista Hotel, now called the Novotel Outback Hotel. It was a genuine attempt by government and the Alice Springs businesses to engage Aboriginal youth in employment. Over the years, the program died a gradual death. I am pleased to see it resun-ected. It is essential that a strong mentorship program is attached to this project so as to provide good support for employees. This is to be a committed long-term project, not just for a few months for each employee but for years - and the whole program for decades - to achieve tangible, long-term outcomes for indigenous youth. I am glad that Alice in 10 has been refocussed, and I look forward to other significant outcomes from the project groups. Many of the projects that the Chief Minister laid claim to are those whose lives started under a previous government. You cannot have developed tourism in the West MacDonnells within one term. You cannot have developed a convention centre such as this within one term. You cannot deliver oil and gas within one term. You cannot deliver Desert Knowledge centres within one term. You cannot deliver a railway line within one term. But you can sure let slip the control of law and order in a mere few months, and this government has done just that since they have come to power. What takes the cake as far as the Chief Ministers statement is concerned are her comments on building safer communities. I spoke to many people over the last few days, during the luncheon adjournments, asking them about the morning sessions, the censure motion and the community rally for law and order. Each of the people I spoke to - to a person - all asked what planet the Chief Minister came from. Obviously, they were not taken by the Chief Ministers and her Justice ministers claim that matters law and order are not bad in Alice Springs. The people of Alice Springs are not taken in by the way the government has tried to weasel its way out of the mess they have allowed to develop in Alice Springs. For months, we have been telling the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General and the Chief Minister that law and order is breaking down. It was not until these last two weeks before the sittings that the government started to act on increasing lawlessness in the streets. The Chief Minister can quote all the statistics in the world, but she cannot convince the people in Alice Springs that her government has law and order under control. What is the saying? Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Let us take a look at how the government has skewed the statistics on crime. The governments definition of a serious crime is the one that is valued at greater than $5000. In my circles, $5000 buys a lot of property. It is more than enough to buy a basic second-hand vehicle. It buys a TV set, a video recorder, a fridge, a washing machine and more. Go tell the average Alice Springs person that losing all that, or your car, is not a serious crime, and see how they respond. Do you wonder why people are not reporting crimes to police? How skewed can your results be? With these skewed results, the Chief Minister stands there and sprouts forth her mantra that she and her Justice minister have law and order under control. What nonsense! Based on the governments own figures, I ask the Chief Minister: does she know that assaults are up 20% over the last three months? Does she know that sexual assaults are up 53% over the last three months? Does the Chief Minister know that house break-ins are up 23% over the last three months? Does the Chief Minister know that break-ins in commercial premises are up 25% in the last months? And does the Chief Minister know that robbery is up 38% over the last three months? These are the figures that the Justice minister has hidden from Territorians. These are the figures that show that the governments law and order measures are failing. In the last three months, each o f these five categories has risen significantly. As one of the local members from Alice Springs, it was important that I had the opportunity to express, on behalf o f Greatorex, the law and order problems that we face here. The level of crime is intolerable and it is why many are leaving. May I have another 30 seconds? M r BURKE: Madam Speaker, I seek leave for an extension of time such that the member for Greatorex may conclude his remarks. 3961