‘Catastrophic’ crime rate: PM must help



The crime emergency in Alice Springs is an unfolding catastrophe and the town needs immediate support from the Federal Government.

We are not being supported by the Fyles Territory Government so we are calling on the Prime Minister to step in.

Lives and livelihoods are at risk. We can’t even get our groceries.

I and fellow Alice Springs MLA Joshua Burgoyne wrote to the Prime Minister this week asking for the plight of Alice Springs to be elevated to a national emergency, with resources allocated as a matter of national priority.

The Opposition is throwing additional support behind the community’s call for Federal assistance today, launching a Save Alice Petition, which can be signed at www.SaveAlice.com.au.

Our town is under attack. Our police are doing the best they can but are severely under-resourced.

We can’t sleep, work, live or even get our groceries so we are asking all residents, across the Northern Territory, to add their support to the petition.

Federal resources were often sent in when lives were at risk in flood, fire and during the Covid pandemic.

The Territory Labor government has failed in its duty to keep us safe so we’re asking for the same.

Shadow Minister for Public Employment, Bill Yan.


  1. @Bill Yan. Perhaps you should have written to the leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton instead. He seems to get a lot of airplay on TV and he has an answer for everything.

  2. @Bill Yan. Another Federal intervention?
    The police have said we can’t arrest our way out of the crime crisis and you have personally overseen a prison with one of the highest rates of recidivism in the country.
    Looking beyond political point scoring, please explain exactly what a Federal intervention would do “on the ground” here in Alice Springs.

  3. This from the ABC News: “Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has ramped up calls for the Federal government to take urgent action in Alice Springs, where a prolonged and frequently violent crime crisis has taken hold.”
    I knew it, Dutton has the answer!

  4. I don’t know, but I am sure that building more gaols and recruiting more police is not the answer.
    As Ralph Folds reminded us: “The police have said we can’t arrest our way out of the crime crisis.”
    I also think that when the Alice Springs Grandmothers group called the out of control youth “The Children of the Intervention” they had a point.

  5. Frank, one thing I do know is the town can’t go on like it is for much longer.
    If we try nothing people are going to leave in droves.
    So if the Federal government want to try to help so be it.
    The NT government have been hopeless.

  6. I’m very disappointed that Bill Yan, who has more expertise on this problem than almost anyone, does not tell us about any effective strategies he and his staff developed at the prison.
    Instead, Bill publishes a petition.
    We know that “more police” is not a long-term strategy!
    We know that youth crime is the generational result of a network of interdependent issues: Social exclusion, cultural leadership, parenting, education, employment/dole, drinking, crime, justice system. Start over.
    Bill Yan has certainly watched this problem develop in full public view for a long time, and has the prison statistics to show how the disempowering Intervention did not improve the trend.
    I would like Bill Yan to publish an evidence-based analysis of the issue, with details on how to address the systemic cause of the problem.
    That is what we pay Mr Yan to do.

  7. IMHO the Commonwealth is largely responsible for the crime problem.
    Commonwealth is responsible for dividing Australians using race as their measure … exactly the opposite of what Australian voters sought in the 1967 Referenda.
    Racists divide communities, people, and families, they seek to qualify, to divide and diminish, our shared Constitutional legal rights and responsibilities.
    Either we all have legal equality and responsibility or we are divided.
    The Commonwealth clearly supports racists, not Australians.
    Governments need find alternatives to locking up everyone, there are alternatives.
    Governments need clearly and publicly address problems creating dysfunctional families.
    To begin, governments need ensure affordable, reasonable, and adequate accommodation is available for everyone.

  8. @Michael: Yes it is well and truly time to hear from Bill Yan and not just to demand action and launch petitions.
    His dilemma is that many of his supporters endorse an even harsher Law and Order approach with more jails and even more police, plus army troops down the Mall if that is what it takes.
    As a former Alice Springs Correctional Centre Superintendent, personally witnessing the revolving door of recidivism, (the highest in the nation) Bill Yan also knows how exposed he would be to endorse the Law and Order mantra.
    So much easier and safer to demand unspecified action.

  9. @John Hagan: “So if the Federal government want to try to help so be it.” I wish I could share your implied optimism that the Feds would be able to do something about the admittedly dire situation.
    As I said before, I don’t have the answers, but having witnessed the effect the Federal government’s Intervention has had on the social fabric of my home community of Yuendumu, I’m not too keen on involving the Feds in trying to help.
    If their “want to try to help” wasn’t contingent on their usual insistence on bureaucratic control, perhaps it might work.
    It also seems to make no difference who controls the Federal Government.
    There are some smart cookies out there, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who could help, if only they were listened to and empowered.

  10. @Ralph Folds: The NT Government, in its 2011 report “Early Childhood Development in the NT: Issues to be addressed” (pp. 13-14) identifies how imprisonment rates impact youth behaviour.
    “The overall rate of imprisonment of Indigenous people in the NT is around 13 times higher than the non-Indigenous rate.
    “Given that the greater majority of prisoners are young men this reflects the disproportionately higher levels of difficulty experienced by Indigenous men.
    “The very high rates of Indigenous imprisonment also have significant flow-on implications for male roles within families, and on families and children – both through the behaviours that lead to imprisonment – and the impact of father absence from families and the adjustments required when offenders return home.
    “Given the projected increase in the NT population, if population rates of unemployment, educational attainment or imprisonment remain the same, the numbers of people who are unemployed, leaving school early or entering prison are also likely to increase.
    “Even with reduction in the population rates of Indigenous imprisonment, there will remain a substantial number of families who are affected by these disruptive influences and causes of disadvantage. This obviously has serious repercussions for the delivery of early childhood services, stresses within families and needs for family support.”
    I am sure Bill Yan has watched this trend for 10 years, so he can explain at least this one part of the problem to his supporters, and propose more effective strategies.

  11. Well, Well, Well, it’s official. This is from breaking news this morning. “The Prime Minister has rejected an invitation from Peter Dutton to travel to Alice Springs today, but his team says, “he will get there”.
    I am appalled that our prime minister can give $700m in aid to the Ukraine and visit them but cannot come to Alice Springs to try and solve the crime problem.
    I pay my taxes for the government to help Australians not the Ukraine.
    Do you think the Alice Springs will get some bush master?
    [ED – Mr Albanesi will be in Alice Springs this afternoon, it has been announced this morning.]

  12. Down here in Adelaide, if a child shows disrespect to another person his/her parents will discipline the child. That is a good start.
    Back to Alice, if a child shows disrespect to someone, his/her parents are either under the influence or more is the case, don’t care about the behaviour as there is no consequences or discipline administered.
    Question: Is it the egg or the chicken that’s the problem?
    I have lived and worked in Alice Springs, north east NT, Arnhem Land, outback WA, west NSW, north SA and had business operations in all states.
    The problem is not unique to Alice Springs as we all know. Don’t we?

  13. More resources, particularly police and infrastructure would definitely help. I have written countless time to council and Federal government offices, budget is just not being allocated.
    But somehow the Federal government can find half a billion dollar in aid to send to a foreign country (Ukraine). I would prefer if my tax dollar would go to the NT first, and then Ukraine.

  14. We are always going on about The Rule of Law which is more than not a Law of Rules in practice which when not adhered to causes catastrophe in any society.
    But more important in its equally disastrous result, is not abiding by the Laws of Nature.
    You only have to look at nature’s organisation eg in the beehive world to see that if you interfere with the natural order, as the experts (Governments etc) are continuing to do, in regard to propagating for one thing, willy-nilly with no controls with regard to the future of the whole race of homo sapiens, you are condemning all to a final apocalypse and annihilation after interminable continuous tumult. The End is clear.


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