By ERWIN CHLANDA
Requiring payment in advance for the return trip from the Easter Football carnival in Alice Springs, for supporters as well players, is one measure under consideration to avoid the spate of criminal damage in the wake of this year’s fixture.
Strategies discussed at a meeting yesterday included denying teams participation in the carnival if their supporters are not prepared for the trip into town – including confirmed arrangements for their return journey.
Assistant Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker, who attended the meeting, says there were no suggestions that public funds should be used for the return trips.
He says the AFL Central Australia has been put in charge of formulating a strategy to link in with the “all of government” approach to such events and will coordinate a core group.
The disturbances were triggered by a string of factors amounting to a “perfect storm”: The carnival, the one week school holidays immediately after, royalty payments, town camps overcrowded by visitors and the concert of an Aboriginal band at the Memo Club, Mr Chalker says.
Some visitors from bush had no money left at the end of it all, and the league’s efforts would focus on that.
The meeting also included the Alice Town Council and the two rural shires.
Mr Chalker says the behaviour during the three day carnival was “very good” – the disturbances happened after it.
He says now that the problems have been stopped – including by issuing 23 truancy notices – the town is back on track to have the lowest rate in four years for unlawful entries during April.
He says police were told the notices led to an immediate improvement of school attendance.
Next year the carnival is scheduled for Blatherskite Park (the show grounds), a decision already made before this year’s event, because of maintenance work at Traeger Park.
Pre-paid return tickets for footy fans?
By ERWIN CHLANDA