LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The Gunner Labor Government should be ashamed of its negligent failure to address the Territory’s crime crisis, which was showcased last night in a damning report by Nine’s A Current Affair, focusing on Alice Springs youth crime and weak bail laws.
The first thing Michael Gunner needs to do is apologise to every Territorian for this failure. The story highlights the raw pain, fear and violation that thousands of Alice Springs residents are feeling daily. They have been totally abandoned by the Gunner Government.
Those images delivered a knockout blow to our tourism sector. At a time when the COVID-ravaged industry is struggling to re-boot, the Northern Territory can’t afford our image on the national stage to be obliterated. The footage beamed across Australia last night did just that.
Now the nation has seen more of Alice Springs at night than our own Chief Minister. This isn’t a media beat-up, Chief Minister, this is a real problem that you need to address.
The level of devastation and embarrassment you have brought to Territorians is immeasurable. You don’t deserve to be our leader.
Territorians have long been calling on the Gunner Government to stop the revolving door of repeat youth offending. We passed crisis point when it was revealed half of all youths arrested last financial year were on bail and 75% of offenders dealt with by Strike Force Viper are repeat offenders. Our police need more powers, more resources and more support.
There is no leadership from the Chief Minister, so we will lead from Opposition and introduce tougher bail laws next week in Parliament.
Leader of the Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro
UPDATE March 17, 1.40pm
The Government’s multi-million dollar tourism campaign to attract people to the Territory has been eclipsed by the viewership of Monday night’s damning report into the Alice Springs crime wave aired on Nine’s A Current Affair.
More than 1.5 million people have now viewed the report on social media, in addition to the 700,000 Australians who watched the broadcast on television.
That’s more than two million people who have now witnessed the Chief Minister’s negligent failures on youth crime.
Compare that with the around 220,000 views accumulated on the 23 separate “Seek Different” promotional videos posted to the Territory tourism YouTube channel – a campaign the Gunner Government is spending $2m to promote.
The tourism sector in Central Australia is in damage control. Operators have reported mass cancellations citing community safety as the main reason.
This is a public relations disaster. With an $8.4 billion budget black hole, the Gunner Labor Government could never find enough money to fund a campaign to offset the damage done to our tourism industry.
We can’t repair the image of Central Australia while we still have rampant crime and swarms of youths on our streets. Reversing Labor’s weak bail laws to address the issue of repeat offending is one way we can start to turn the tide.
The Chief Minister’s ignorance is shameless. In response to A Current Affair’s report he told media “there is no presumption of bail”. There is. He put it there. It’s in the Youth Justice and Bail Act amendments passed in Parliament by Labor.
Either Michael Gunner doesn’t understand his own legislation, or he’s deliberately trying to mislead Territorians.
Shadow Minister for Tourism, Marie-Clare Boothby