By ERWIN CHLANDA
Will Mayor Damien Ryan (at left), now that he is also CLP candidate, reverse his long-standing opposition in council to a youth curfew in Alice Springs?
This week Opposition Leader Gary Higgins called for such a curfew, a sure sign that this is now a major plank in CLP platform for the 2020 NT elections, due no later than August.
Independent Member for Araluen, Robyn Lambley (at right) against whom the Mayor is likely to be standing, is latching on to the issue: “Over the past 10 years, under the leadership of Mayor Ryan, the council has moved four youth curfew motions. Mayor Ryan has never supported a youth curfew.
“A Youth Curfew could be a game-changer for our town and I will not stop until I succeed in at least trialing a curfew in Alice Springs. This requires the support of the community,” said Mrs Lambley in a media release.
She had moved in Parliament for a curfew on Wednesday, received the support of the two-member Opposition, but was unsuccessful.
“Unsurprisingly the Gunner Government did not support my motion for a curfew, stating that their current strategies for managing children on the streets of Alice Springs at night were working well,” Lambley says in the release.
But embarrassing the Mayor clearly is a win in the political brawl in which Mayor Ryan has now involved himself, for up to the next nine months.
There are dozens of references to the council’s dealing with the issue over the years (google it in our pages).
In November 2011 the Mayor got it embarrassingly wrong.
He seemed unaware that a youth curfew is official Town Council policy, as we reported: “It’s called a ‘Night Time Youth Strategy’ and one of its measures is to have unsupervised children 15 years and under ‘taken into protective care and custody if found on the streets of Alice Springs at night’ between 10pm and 5am.”
It had been on council’s books since November 27, 2006.
We reported that Mayor Ryan “tweeted on September 2, well before the matter came before the council again later that month: ‘I do not support a Youth Curfew, this proposal is not a #alicecouncil position.'”
Ms Lambley says this week “is the first time the concept of a youth curfew has been fully debated in the NT Parliament.
“I was pleased to see that some Members were at least open to the idea.
“Youth curfews operate effectively throughout the world. They are used as a child protection and crime prevention strategy,” she says.
“They are a caring means of keeping the children and the community safe.
“To implement a Youth Curfew does not require changing legislation in the NT nor would it cost a huge amount of additional funding.
“A youth curfew is about children and their families learning that kids cannot be on the streets at night unaccompanied by an adult. It is not rocket science and it is not as controversial as people imagine.”
We are offering Mayor Ryan the right of reply.
By ERWIN CHLANDA