Curfew: sixth time lucky for Cr Melky?


Councillor Eli Melky can’t be faulted on persistence: he gave notice at last night’s council meeting that he would bring to a future meeting another youth curfew motion, or rather a CURFEW motion.

The acronym stands for “Children Under Responsible Family Elders Watch”.

Right: From a leaflet distributed by Cr Melky last night. 

“It was staring us in face all this time,” said Cr Melky,.

He said he had consulted with Elders about the high levels of juvenile crime at night, a worry for them too, and it was they who had kick-started the ideas for acronym and its meaning.

The path forward would be by way of a public places by-law, which council itself could pass and enforce. It, like all by-laws, could also be enforced by police.

He said his proposal will take into account the concerns of those who have not previously supported a curfew.

The last time a curfew was rejected was at the December 2019 meeting. That was Cr Melky’s fifth attempt.

CEO Robert Jennings last night suggested the issue could be discussed at the February forum (closed to the general public). He would provide research and advice.


Cr Melky also raised the letter to the Mayor from Minister Dale Wakefield in response to council’s decision to support the Anzac Precinct as the preferred location for the proposed national Aboriginal art gallery.

This was also a decision of the December 2019 meeting, but had the important proviso that the government provide “evidence of custodian support of the location”.

In her letter of December 24 Minister Wakefield does not mention any such evidence, saying only that she will ensure that council’s support for the location will be “incorporated” into the ongoing “Aboriginal consultation”.

That is “a concern” for Cr Melky. Evidence of support from Aboriginal stakeholders is a “strict condition” of council support, he said.

Mr Jennings acknowledged that condition as a “key item” in the discussions he will have on the matter with the Department of the Chief Minister.

It was not mentioned in council, but neither did Minister Wakefield’s letter mention Anzac Oval as a sticking point, in contrast to the comments made to Alice Springs News in December, when she reiterated the government’s vision for the gallery at Anzac precinct: it “takes in both the old school site and Anzac Oval and factors in substantial green space out the front available to the community for all kinds of events and activities”, she said.


Above: Redtails FC, photo from their website

Council will work to develop an MOU with the Redtails Football Club (and the Pinktails and Right Tracks program) “to address their short term needs and set a long term strategy”.

Cr Marli Banks proposed this motion last night, after hearing its founder, Rob Clarke, speak at the Australia Day ceremony of the club’s need for a home.

The club  is a positive story coming out of Alice Springs when there are so many negative stories, she said, pointing in particular to the rising star, Nigel Lockyer Jnr, who trains with Mr Clarke and has apparently been drafted by Essendon FC.

The council has already been working with Mr Clarke, particularly around scheduling access to ovals, but Cr Banks’s motion, seconded by Cr Jacinta Price, will be a “trigger” to do more, said CEO Robert Jennings.

Cr Jimmy Cocking noted that the issues had been before council since 2012, and stressed the need for a long term sustainable solution.

– Kieran Finnane 



  1. Here we go again. How do you propose the police enforce this curfew if they haven’t got the resources.
    Already crime is rampant in this town.
    Another businesses windows smashed this morning. They can’t do it now, so won’t be able to enforce this curfew.
    No one else could do it. As for the Art Gallery, I’m totally against another here. Anyway and if any of the muppets in council or government ever listen … the traditional Aborigines want it SOUTH OF THE GAP.

  2. We also have laws for murder and rape – yet these still occur. Does that make such laws pointless?

  3. There is no way a BY LAW that creates a curfew will be enforced by NT Police. Having the By Law is one thing. Enforcing it another. What do you do with the children found breaking the curfew? Incarceration, I can hear the screaming already. Return them to their seriously dysfunctional family, duty of care may be involved here. Can we legally apprehend children on a first offence? To get a prison sentence now takes more than one criminal conviction so being incarcerated (whatever you want to call it) for breach of a By-law will and should not be an option. Then if the Federal Government does not like these procedures they could override them as occurred with the Voluntary Euthanasia laws a few years ago.
    Education is the only way this current lawlessness by these minors can be turned around.
    Charge some of the parents with the available care laws and they may take notice then.

  4. Redtails clubrooms?
    There are two great big vacant lots behind the casino which could be developed into a dedicated footy / Red Tails oval and clubrooms space.
    Currently owned by the NT Government, and have been vacant for the past 30+ years.
    Rob, I suggest you follow this up, as it’s a perfect location for such a venture.
    Close to hospitality and tourism venues, and easy to access.
    And right at the base of and under the MacDonnell Ranges where the “Wedgtail” Eagles soar.
    Currently Zoned TC (Tourist Commercial) but adjacent to a huge tract of land zoned OR (Organised Recreation) i.e. the golf course.
    Obviously funding will be needed, but we seem to find money for such ventures when the many, many positives of developing such a long-term community orientated and beneficial space are recognised.

  5. As I am what is often called around town ‘A Do Gooder’, I am starting to think a curfew could and should be used. The cycle needs to be broken. Hopefully a few years of being picked up off the street, some of the next generation of kids will have different outcomes in life.

  6. Remember the old days when as youngsters we feared the local sergeant and police in general.
    Not now, Police are scrutinised 24/7, have to wear body worn video and cannot work as they want to do.
    Bring back old days when if someone was silly enough to muck around they would get a good clip around the ear at the least.
    Too many do-gooders these days and until Police are allowed to do their job properly, problem will always be there.
    Curfew is a waste of time. Police are not babysitters or parents.

  7. Seems like it is needed more than ever. I have been here for over 20 years and can’t remember it quite this bad.
    I certainly support a curfew, and it can really be made to suit our needs. Even the police at the bottle shops I have chatted to, and other long serving police agree that one is needed. I have never heard this before.
    If a kid of a certain age is on the street between 10pm and 6am, “without lawful excuse” (going to or leaving work etc.) the police should have the power to take them to their home, and assess if it is safe in conjunction with a Territory Families worker and if Aboriginal, a Liaison Officer.
    If it is deemed safe the parent is warned that if they are caught on the streets again for the next x period of time, they are on the banned drinkers register.
    There is enough legislation in existence already that talks about a parent’s responsibility to provide for a child, to be legally responsible for them and to ensure they attend school.
    If they are not able to be returned home due to unsafe conditions, that child should / could be taken to an outstation 100km out of town staffed by a member of their own skin group, and put through a program like Rainer Chlanda described in his recent article.
    This would keep the kids on country, not in custody.
    The parents also need to be told in no uncertain terms what needs to be done, and forced to do it. No matter what this type of program costs, it would have to be more economically viable than the crap going on at the moment.
    There seems to be an average of one car stolen every single day, criminal damage to shops every single day, people not driving out to town at night because it is too unsafe.


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