Alice Springs’ leaders are a cosy club, a snobbish hierarchy, drinking the same cocktails and dumping on people daring to highlight their incompetence in fixing the town’s escalating problems, says Alderman Murray Stewart.
Despite the number of houses for sale and businesses closing at an unprecedented level, the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Central Australia are not coming up with the tough responses needed, he says.
Ald Stewart was responding to statements by the chamber’s chair, Julie Ross, claiming that the advertising campaign by Action for Alice had backfired, spreading the word about the town’s lawlessness to potential visitors in Australia and abroad, rather than making the point to the politicians who can make a difference.
Ald Stewart says he is a supporter of Action for Alice but had nothing to do with the decision to launch the campaign.
But he is scathing about the leaders “club” which will “scorn” people outside their “clique” trying to creating the kind of solutions the leaders are incapable of.
“There is no place in Alice Springs for their ridiculous social lifestyle, their boring smugness.
“They should acknowledge they are a failure,” says Ald Stewart.
He says the town saw a boost in policing “for five minutes” while the Legislative Assembly was sitting here, but now assaults and other crimes are out of control again.
“When Parliament finished so did the police presence,” he says.
Ald Stewart says the long mooted youth curfew needs to be brought in.
Young people at night not obviously engaged in an occupational pursuit “should be frisked for any offensive weapons and smartly sent home or to a facility where they are supervised”.
Offenders should be committed to compulsory rehabilitation.
“Let’s do it and flash those pictures around the world,” says Ald Stewart.
He says the leaders had failed to stop the hike in alcohol costs, done nothing about the high fuel prices, and it had taken 8HA talk show host Adrian Renzie to have Qantas include Alice Springs in their assistance to stranded Tiger passengers.
Meanwhile police are calling for witnesses to an assault in Alice Springs last week. A 29-year-old man was returning from a pizza shop at about 8:30 pm on Wednesday when he was set upon by three youths near the Stott Terrace / South Terrace roundabout. The victim was punched to the head before falling to the ground and then kicked several times to the body. The offenders are described to be of Aboriginal appearance, aged between 13 and 19. The victim’s wallet was stolen in the attack and the offenders returned a short time later to also take the victim’s pizza. The offenders left the scene in a red Ford Falcon station wagon. Witnesses who may have seen the youths pictured in the surveillance images above were asked to contact 131 444 or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Police media release 17:26 CST Monday, July 11, 2001:
The attention to detail by a closed-circuit TV operator in Darwin has led to the arrest of a 14-year-old boy in Alice Springs yesterday. CCTV was monitoring in the vicinity of Gap Road on Saturday night when the operator noticed a person matching the description of a youth who was wanted for the assault and robbery of a tourist last week.
The operator alerted members in Alice Springs who immediately attended the area. When police arrived in the area and approached the youth he ran from police but was caught a short time later.
Superintendent Michael Murphy said this is another great example of CCTV monitoring and just how effective it can be across the Northern Territory.”