Territory Stories

Debates and Questions - Day 2 - 5 May 2021



Debates and Questions - Day 2 - 5 May 2021

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates and Questions for 14th Assembly 2020 -; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 14th Assembly 2020 -






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Debates and Questions

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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 and Questions Wednesday 5 May 2021 Meeting No 18 1471 A few months ago the Members for Braitling, Namatjira and I decided to join forces in a bipartisan way to represent the interests of our community regarding crime. We felt that met the communitys expectations, and as their representatives in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, we should be working together to address this issue. We have some traction. We had meetings with the Minister for Central Australian Economic Reconstruction and have been working on a few initiatives there. There has been a lot of work behind the scenes to try to get this government to listen and respond to the community. In Alice Springs it has been a very tough road. Things are looking a little better than they did a few weeks ago. My plan to fix crime in Alice Springs is probably a little different to other members of this parliament. The first step to fix crime in my town is for the government to acknowledge that there is a problem. Even if you have a personal problem, let alone a societal or community problem, the first step is to say, We have a problem. The government needs to come to that point and fully acknowledge there is a very serious problem, particularly in Alice Springs. The public acknowledgement of this would go a long way to assisting people to accept and heal from the damage that has been done over the last three or four years. The government should address the people of Alice Springs and acknowledge that the current crime prevention strategies, while well intended, are not working. The government should make a public commitment to work collaboratively with local people to address the escalating problem of crime in Alice Springs using a sensible, balanced carrot and stick approach. It is not rocket science. There are so many people in Alice Springs who want to get involved and help; it always bowls me over. Interestingly, during last sittings, when I boldly suggested that the minister for Territory Families might like to put beds in the Alice Springs Youth Hub, the response I received from the Alice Springs community to that idea has staggered me. I have had so many people say to me, including many Aboriginal people, Robyn, that was a great idea. It is funny that what you think is a good idea when you are a politician may not be a good idea, but what you think is not such a good idea, people think, Ah, that is good. It is very difficult to gauge. That is an example of a simple idea which could be implemented and may be would be worth a go. To acknowledge a problem is step one. Step two is to identify the strategies. A lot of the focus is on the longerterm picture, particularly from the recommendations of the royal commission. A lot of those strategies are very long term. You are talking about behavioural changes and generational change. Right from the start, the warning signs were there that most of the recommendations were of a very long-term nature and in the interim we would have chaos. That is exactly what has happened. You need a mixture of short and medium-term strategies. The priority must be restoring law and order in the short term as well as addressing the longer-term issues. A point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker! I move an extension of time to continue my remarks. Motion agreed to. Mrs LAMBLEY: Step three, which I have talked about for many years, is the implementation of a youth curfew, or a curfew for children. Regarding fixing crime in Alice Springs, I stand by comments that a curfew for children would make an enormous difference. In my mind, taking children off the street at nightchildren, I am not talking about youths or older, but 16 years and under, and maybe not even fixed to thatis a civilised and caring thing to do. For some reason, the mere mention of a curfew raises the hairs on the back of some peoples necks. They cannot seem to get their head around how this could be a positive thing. In the Alice Springs community I have support for a trial of a curfew for children; it is a popular idea. People want to give it a go and have wanted it for many years. I first introduced the idea of a youth curfew when I was an alderman on the Alice Springs Town Council in 2006. Because of the number of children on the streets at night, I moved a motion in council that we write to the Labor government of the day asking for it to look at trialling a curfew. It was supported by the council after a lot of legwork, watering down and negotiations. The letter was sent and the government of the day ignored it. A curfew would make an enormous difference. There is a lot of evidence for curfews around the world on how effective they can be. The evidence at our disposal is what happened during the COVID lockdown in Alice Springs. It was remarkable. It took almost a week for a lot of peopleparticularly from outlying Aboriginal communitiesto understand we were not allowed to go on the streets of Alice Springs night unless we had to; and that they could not gather, sit and hang around like most of us like to do.

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