Sunday Territorian Sun 22 Aug 2021
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
News Corp Australia
SUNDAY AUGUST 22 2021 OPINION 13 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA WHO would have thought a few years ago wed be living like this, I said to a random, heavily disguised woman sitting next to me on the plane from Alice Springs to Darwin last week. Strangely liberated by masks we chatted openly about a bygone era of roaming uninhibited around the world living the backpacker dream. The good old days. Then predictably we moved on to the horrendous acts of violence and terror that unfolded in our hometown of Alice Springs during the week. I actually thought it was possible to chew gum and walk at the same time but apparently its not. It seems that Territory leaders apparently cannot keep Territorians safe from Covid and keep Territorians safe from crime, at the same time. Last week in Alice Springs we saw a spate of lunatics driving dangerously around town. CASE 1: A man allegedly drove around the Coles carpark and beyond, on Tuesday morning, smashing into random vehicles, causing extensive damage and mayhem. A woman was hospitalised as a result. CASE 2: Another man, on Thursday morning, allegedly ramraided the entrance to the Riverside Bar (formerly known as the animal bar) of the Todd Tavern. If that wasnt good enough, he then was seen dousing his vehicle, then himself, with petrol from a red plastic jerry can. CASE 3: A few hours later, a vehicle rammed into another car at the McDonalds intersection and kept going. Keeping in mind that less than two weeks before, a motorbike rider was killed in an alleged hit- and-run in the rural area. This rated as one of our more challenging weeks in recent history, to say the least. Being the poor cousins 1500km down the road, Alice Springs people are conditioned to expect very little from the Gunner government. But at times like this, we do require a few words of comfort and reassurance that not all is going down the toilet. Days later, despite a loud chorus of people calling for leadership and help from our illustrious Chief Minister, Police Minister and Police Commissioner, the silence has been deafening. Even after all the lockdowns had been lifted on Thursday and Friday, still the response was nothing. The local police reported the daily incidents of crime as per usual, but its not their job to appease the cries of outrage, panic and fear from the Alice Springs community. In Budget Estimates in July, with police crime statistics going through the roof right across the NT, I asked the Police Commissioner whether keeping Territorians safe from Covid was at the expense of keeping them safe from crime. The notion was met with disgust and a categorical denial. I then asked the Police Commissioner if being the Territory Controller for Covid, on top of his already extremely demanding job, was perhaps too much. Again the question was met with indignation by the Commissioner and his Minister that I would suggest such an outrageous thing. I know I am right. It is very clear that this government cannot simultaneously manage the two Crime takes hold during Covid-19 ROBYN LAMBLEY A car crashing into one of the pubs in Alice Springs is just one of the latest examples of crime in the town. Picture: Supplied IF YOU type Alice Springs into Google, the second most asked question about my hometown is: Is it safe?. Honestly, I dont know how to answer that question. What I do know is that Michael Gunner has created a Northern Territory where Territorians are being attacked, abused and victimised every single day, and where victims come last. That was evident when he handed over a $35m cheque to youth offenders who were sent to Don Dale for terrorising Territorians. Hes forgotten about Central Australia. Hes forgotten about the bush. Hes forgotten about our regions. He has abandoned every Territorian beyond the Berrimah Line. I was born and raised in Alice Springs and its where I am raising my young family. My daughter is just 12-weeks old. I am fiercely proud of my hometown. But something has changed. Many people wont drive their cars into town at night. I myself wont drive past Anzac Hill at night, because it is well-known for youths pelting rocks at passing cars. We are warned to hide our belongings from view in our cars and homes, and not to travel alone at night. I certainly dont see too many people walking around after dark, except for those far too young to be out by themselves. Crime has become so entrenched in the lives of Central Australians we have almost accepted it as part of everyday life. We have been forced to change the way we live our lives just to ensure we are safe and that is a damning indictment that the Gunner government has failed in its duty of care. Just this week, Alice Springs was subjected to a terrifying hitand-run in a shopping centre carpark a crime allegedly perpetrated by a 19-yearold who was drunk and unlicensed. Anywhere else in the country it would have been front page news. Yet, weve heard nothing from the Chief Minister. Just a few days later a man was arrested after his car slammed into the Todd Tavern. He then appeared to douse himself in petrol. Again, we heard nothing from the Chief Minister. This is not the Alice Springs I know. I have seen the devastation caused by Labors crime policy failures first-hand. I have witnessed the pain endured by the family of Shane Powell who was run down and killed, allegedly, by teenagers in a stolen car. What Labor promised Alice Springs in the lead up to the 2020 election to curb the crime crisis, and what has actually been delivered is worlds apart. Were now a year on from the election and not a single community work program that would see offenders cleaning graffiti and clear weeds and landscaping has been established. Michael Gunner, on your watch the Territory is so heavily-impacted by daily crime, offenders are afforded more rights than victims, and every single Territorian beyond the Berrimah Line has been abandoned. This is not a Territory we want for our children. JOSHUA BURGOYNE IS THE CLP MEMBER FOR BRAITLING. Poor Alice Springs forgotten JOSHUA BURGOYNE greatest threats to our lifestyle, health and future in the NT: Covid AND crime. They have chosen Covid over crime. A better government could do both. After Covid, my fear is that crime will be completely out of control. ROBYN LAMBLEY IS THE MEMBER FOR ARALUEN. They have chosen Covid over crime. A better government could do both @ TWITTER @TheNTNews FACEBOOK facebook.com/TheNTNews @ POST PO Box 1300, Darwin, NT, 0801 @ EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org @ MOBILE 0428 NTNEWS