Sunday, July 21, 2024

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HomeIssue 5We need to get these kids off the streets: Wakefield

We need to get these kids off the streets: Wakefield

p2274-Dale-WakefieldBy ERWIN CHLANDA
“We know that we need to get these kids off the streets. This behaviour is absolutely unacceptable. No individual or business should ever have to experience what Andrew Kittle and his team have,” says Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield (pictured).
“There is no silver bullet to solving the crime issue in Alice Springs. If there was, we would have taken it.”
Ms Wakefield says the government has increased funding for after-hours youth services in Alice Springs and “we are looking at what model will work to most effectively deliver these activities”.
She makes no comment about a measure for children similar to protective custody for adults at risk, which is involuntary detention, usually overnight.
Ms Wakefield says: “We are establishing bail support accommodation for young people who don’t have a safe place to go.
“This facility will be manned 24-hours and we anticipate it will be up and running by the end of the year.
“We also have a new Youth Outreach Centre scheduled to be up and running next week. The Centre is a service centre and we want it to be flexible to allow for quick responses to community needs.
“This government is determined to break the cycle of crime and these are just some measures in our overhaul of the youth justice system.”


  1. Kittles is owned by CenterCorp which the CLC have a major stake in.
    Perhaps the land council should rethink their hoarding of some $50m + and spend some their wealth on Aboriginal youth.
    No NT Government funds should be spent protecting Kittles.

  2. Stop the flow of alcohol in this town, need to engage with the Federal government re changing all welfare payments to one day a week.
    My mob get around in large groups because someone in that group gets welfare payments, ie seven people (captains) in a group, seven days of getting money to drink.
    We need to get serious about this issue.
    Kids go off the rails because no appropriate parental guidance and discipline from parents due to alcohol abuse.

  3. Blah Blah Blah. That’s all I hear from these people. Action speaks louder than words, start doing something and not the same old things that haven’t worked!
    The Government (the Ministers in power) should be ashamed of their inaction. You are an embarrassment and what is wrong with our beautiful Territory.

  4. After-hours youth services work only if the youth want to use them. If they think it is more fun to rampage and act like wild animals left out of a cage, nothing will work.
    A 6-year-old on the street at night does not need activities, he/she needs food, bed and care.
    Those children are not delinquents, they are neglected and parents should be put in front of a judge and made responsible for damages.

  5. As has been mentioned twice in comments, the problem starts with the parents. These children do not go home because often there is little to go home to.
    They roam the streets, are bored, often in groups and end up breaking into homes and businesses.
    Many of them are on drugs.
    To solve this problem we need to start at the bottom with the parents, for so long they have got off scott free.

  6. It’s interesting to see how many comments there are blaming the parents of delinquent youth.
    What’s not taken into account by all these sage remarks is that the parents are in all likelihood the product of identical circumstances when they were youngsters.
    All of this is inextricably linked with extreme alcohol abuse that has never been honestly addressed by our society in general, it’s always the problems of the “few” that have nothing to do with any of us.
    This problem has plagued Alice Springs and other places in the Northern Territory for decades and it’s well and truly intergenerational.
    This is why in the 1970s Giles House was built in Alice Springs, the first juvenile detention and remand centre in the NT (it’s now called Aranda House).
    Giles House was one result of a NT Legislative Council Select Committee inquiry into the NT’s prison system in the early 1970s, which condemned the common practice of juveniles being incarcerated in adult gaols (and there were a lot of kids in those days that were sent to prison, notwithstanding the Territory’s much smaller population in those times). Then – as now – the overwhelming majority of inmates in gaol were Aboriginal people.
    This was followed up with the Wildman River Camp in the Top End in the 1980s (a similar proposal for the Centre never proceeded) and then the original Don Dale facility opened in 1991.
    In 1997 (20 years ago already!) the NT Government brought in mandatory sentencing for youths convicted of crimes, including for offences of a petty nature, which prompted sustained criticism of the NT for a few years.
    In 2006 the NT Government (then Labor) closed the Wildman River Camp, stating that the Don Dale Centre was a superior option for managing youths in custody (which, incidentally, just happens to be outside the terms of reference for the current Royal Commission into juvenile detention in the NT). And so on it goes …

  7. Good to see some informative and constructive comments here, unlike those so common on social media “forums” and “discussion groups”.
    I for one am glad to see the punitive policies of the last government replaced with a more caring approach and believe Dale Wakefield’s proposal for an overnight care centre can play an important part in what is needed to break the cycle.
    A place where neglected kids (from all backgrounds) can go to for a feed, a drink, the company of their peers and even an overnight stay, and offer this suggestion.
    Is the old Police Station building on Parsons Street still vacant?
    If so, couldn’t it be adapted and used for such a care centre, supported by associated social services organisations?

  8. I’m a 62 year old Aboriginal from interstate. I would never return to Alice Springs again due to the shameful state of alcoholism and drugs – seen this openly in the Mall and near the toilets.
    Time to make parents accountable for their kids. As the local bloke stated about the 7 captains … never a truer word said. Makes us non drinkers shamed as we’re all put in the same basket. White man’s poison!

  9. @ Alex Nelson: Alex, it is the parents’ responsibility, full stop.
    If they suffered the same upbringing then that’s a different issue that needs to be addressed.
    This sort of thing is now a social issue and most of society is sick and tired of it.
    Perhaps centres for the whole family where guidance is provided may be one answer.
    If the Aboriginal elders are keen to provide input into the issues and the resolution of these, it would be very helpful.
    I do hope that such a centre is funded by royalty money in part as that may assist in determining the commitment to solving such issues.


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