Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeIssue 3Kids, parents must pay for crime: 3 Alice MLAs

Kids, parents must pay for crime: 3 Alice MLAs

By ERWIN CHLANDA

A Country Liberal Party Government would amend the Bail Act to ensure that repeat offenders face the consequences of their actions, say Bill Yan, MLA for Namatjira, and Joshua Burgoyne (Braitling) who have teamed up with Robyn Lambley (Araluen) to tackle rampant youth crime in The Alice.

The CLP Members would also reverse changes made by the Gunner Government which removed breach of bail conditions as an offence. Repeat youth offenders would not enjoy the presumption in favour of bail.

Mrs Lambley would immediately implement an “emergency youth curfew” for children, requiring them to be off the streets between 8pm and 6am.

She also wants to take children away “from the harmful influences” by taking them to bush youth camps while “Territory Families, the NT Child Protection authority, needs a shake up from top to bottom again.

“Child Protection is still one of the greatest shames in the NT. The number of children who continue to be abused and neglected in the NT is an absolute disgrace,” says Mrs Lambley.

The CLP wants to bring in a “Sentenced to a Skill” boot camp for Alice Springs – taking its cue from the “Sentenced to a Job” for adult offenders.

The three Members of Parliament were responding to a questions from the Alice Springs News, following their announcement of jointly tackling the problems: “If you three became the NT government right now, what would be the first five actions you would put in place, or initiate as processes, to deal with the youth crisis in Alice Springs?”

Mr Yan and Mr Burgoyne say youth justice must immediately be returned to Corrections which “is best placed to correct the behaviour plaguing our communities.

“Youth offenders who are placed in diversion will undertake community service.

“Victims will be put first,” they say. “Territorians have had enough of the Labor Government’s ‘offender first’ policies where the victim is forgotten.”

Community-centred solutions will be prioritised and there will be a curfew in Alice Springs “if supported by the Alice Springs community”.

There needs to be “rolling police recruitment and sufficient funding provided to ensure that multiple recruit squads can run at the same time”.

There need to be greater promotion opportunities for Territory-trained police officers in order to reward the commitment and local knowledge gained.

The CLP would “reverse the watering down of penalties for youth offenders and institute a system where each offence has a consequence including escalating consequences for youth offenders”.

Mrs Lambley says parents and carers would be responsible for ensuring their children do not breach the curfew.

“Like during the COVID-19 shut down in March and April 2020, the police would be tasked to confront people that are not adhering to the curfew.

“Territory Families would have a primary role in supporting families to comply with the curfew,” she says.

“All Government funded youth services would be required to assist in compliance and supporting the implementation of the curfew. If agencies decide they are ethically or otherwise opposed the curfew they may risk losing their NTG funding.”

Bail laws “need to be changed to ensure that the revolving door of juvenile offending stops. Laws must be amended to reinstate personal and parental responsibility.

“[Children’s] right to roam freely at night without adult supervision is a form of neglect. If children need to escape violence or abuse at home, then they are clearly ‘at risk’ and should be provided Child Protection assistance through Territory Families. We are continuing to fail children.”

Mrs Lambley says: “I do not believe the NT Liquor Commission is functional or effective. I would scrap it saving about $1m per annum and redirect those funds to put more police on the beat. The streets of Alice Springs need to be saturated with police sending a message of zero tolerance.”

The full statements are published here.

PHOTO (from left): Bill Yan, Josh Burgoyne, Robyn Lambley (ABC image).

10 COMMENTS

  1. As a rate payer who has put up with kids getting into my yard and running amuck at night around the suburbs I fully endorse the political arguments within this article.

  2. Further to my previous comment, I am not so sure about the following text though: “If agencies decide they are ethically or otherwise opposed the curfew they may risk losing their NTG funding.”
    Like there will be someone for sure who will be against the curfew but cutting their funding will this be dangerous or fair?
    I am not sure it’s fair.
    Perhaps funding the correct wording should be “funding will need to be reviewed” instead of just cutting them out altogether.

  3. This all sounds unbelievably wonderful, like a dream.
    The pollies have continually insulted our intelligence with blatant empty promises and outright bullshit for so long that I have become very cynical about the whole system, especially the justice system. Any pollie that is any good ends up as an independent.
    It will take a miracle to fix the crime in this town. The disdain towards the town and its people has been compounding for years and all the pollies (parties) have had a chance to rectify it.
    Most did nothing and now we are where we are because of your weakness and cowardice and yet you all have the audacity to ask for support!
    Nobody of influence has the guts to take an honest look at what has happened to this once wonderful place and actually do anything about fixing it.
    Show me a someone in authority who honestly cares about this town for the benefit of the townsfolk and not their self interest. Doing so may restore some hope and faith.
    In the meantime stop wasting the tens of millions in taxpayer money, funding the möbius ring you call progress.

  4. During our ADFs deployment to Afghanistan one engagement program was seen as worthwhile.
    It involved providing training for young men in basic carpentry small engine maintenance and so on.
    The attendees were paid a small amount daily to encourage them to turn up. If they completed the course they were presented a set of tools on returning to their village.
    Our mainstream education system is of no interest to the majority of wayward NT youth.
    It might be time to try something less structured and practical.

  5. After the shameful events that included the use of a restraint chair that led to a Royal Commission, Corrections have forever lost any credibility in dealing with youthful offenders.
    Despite having failed to decrease the appalling recidivism rate of adult offenders Mr Yan and Mr Burgoyne say corrections “is best placed to correct the behaviour plaguing our communities”.
    They really need to explain their confidence in detail.

  6. Despite the seeming terminal decline in our community and the shadow upon Alice’s future, all hope is not lost.
    A concerted effort by all stakeholders and adequate resources and legislative powers, could very quickly lead to the streets being cleaned up.
    New York was cleaned up through a zero tolerance approach. This means all offending must have a repercussion. And no, repercussion does not mean judicial. From littering to graffiti, to truancy, break and enters and everything in between.
    There is NO valid reason why it should be accepted as normal for neglected children in large groups without supervision to be getting into mischief whilst the community hides away in their homes in fear.
    A curfew, a back to school and back to bush program, truancy officers, shifting financial costs of crimes onto legal guardians (including NT Government) along side a safe house where you do not leave but are instead provided safety and comfort until sun up as well as an overwhelming display of police and community service groups to enforce and clean up the streets could see normalcy and safety return to our community within two or three weeks.
    Look how quickly the town changed during COVID-19 lock downs. A concerted effort not based on health but community and child safety would yield even better and quicker results. TWO to THREE weeks to make Alice Springs livable again and restore our future.
    Schooling must be prioritised and breaking down the gang mentality to prevent young kids being led astray by older kids must be broken. A youth curfew is the only viable tool to immediately restore law, order, peace and safety on our streets as we allow the town to catch a breath and work on long term structural change and closing of the gap.
    The only question is – what are we waiting for?
    The central region elected members need to considerably change their approach to publicly shame this government into action in as many mediums as possible. A chorus of thousands of voices reverberating across the country cannot be ignored.

  7. “Child protection is still one of the greatest shames in the NT. The number of children who continue to be abused and neglected in the NT is an absolute disgrace,” says Mrs Lambley.
    It’s safer in the Lockup than at home? Is another Stolen Generation the answer?

  8. Forget repeating past failures and stop trying to change behaviour, sentence to a skill, increase policing and penalties, youth camps or putting Corrections back in the box seat.
    All this has failed and will fail again.
    There is a simple solution.
    Property needs to be protected but police are not security guards.
    They arrive and investigate after the crime.
    Prevention is almost non existent so criminals have free range.
    For example, RFDS cafe trashed. Must have taken an hour to do so much damage but no-one was listening or guarding that area of town.
    The Government should legislate to increase the power of security guards and part fund the expansion of their services on a massive scale.
    Put a permanent security guard presence in the Mall and many other areas that have a high crime rate as well as having a roving presence.
    Police intelligence should inform the security services and they should all work together to combat crime by heading it off.
    What would it cost?
    Much less than what is planned and far more effective.

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