Sir – As youth crime has never been worse, the Gunner Government has decided to give away to the Aboriginal owners of Loves Creek, near Ross River, east of Alice Springs, $5m worth of infrastructure and equipment from the only government owned boot camp in the NT.
Management of the camp had its challenges.
The site was specifically chosen because of its relatively close proximity to Alice Springs, coupled with its remote bush setting.
The government has been paying about $30,000 per year to have the camp maintained. The whole camp can be up and running within hours if required.
In June 2018 I visited the camp with the Member for Blain , Terry Mills, and well-respected manager of Alice Springs youth service, Bushmob, Mr Will McGregor. What we saw was an incredibly well resourced , well maintained, fit for purpose facilities with nine bunk houses (60 beds), kitchen block, dining block, laundry donga, two ablution blocks, three water tanks, generator and diesel tank, education donga, separate cabin for staff, A maze of shades, paved walkways and shelters and a satellite dish and communication.
Have other options been considered, for example; moving the equipment to a site that is deemed suitable for a youth camp; selling off the equipment to recoup some funds; or giving the equipment to other government or non-government services that might be able to use it?
This is a shameful waste of taxpayers’ funds and resources. Above all it is a wasted opportunity for kids who could be using this facility to sort themselves out. With youth crime at unacceptably high levels, this is not the time to be closing the only Government Youth Camp in the NT.