Tighten youth bail: CLP

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By ERWIN CHLANDA

Bail laws covering young offenders should be tightened, according to local CLP Members urging the recalling of Parliament to deal with crime in Alice Springs.

“We have seen time and time again a lot of young people being allowed out on bail. Breach of bail is currently not an offence. There are a whole swathes of issues currently in the youth justice space, issues we would address,” said Braitling MLA Joshua Burgoyne who spoke to local and interstate media on Thursday, together with Namatjira MLA Bill Yan.

NEWS: What are the issues?

BURGOYNE: We have a lot of young people offending without any consequences. We see this time and time again. I am one of the few politicians that I know of who has actually spent time sitting in the youth justice law courts, to see what occurs. And while we can’t talk about what occurs in there I am seeing first hand what is occurring. It’s so important to explain to everyone right across the nation … the youth justice space here in the NT is broken. In 2019 we had huge changes coming in and since then we’ve had lawlessness continue to increase. We’ve seen an escalation in offending, an increase in stolen motor vehicles being driven dangerously around our town. This sort of behaviour needs a response, not for young people to simply be taken home.

Both Mr Yan and Mr Burgoyne also called for long term social solutions, programs that “divert young people from a life of crime, to ensure they have a bright future.

Several questions dealt with the absence or presence of PALIs – cops at bottle shops, essentially a taxpayer funded support for the liquor industry which itself has to make sure it don’t sell to people on the Banned Drinker’s Register. And if they do, should it not be their responsibility?

NEWS: Aren’t there better ways to manage alcohol sales than bottle shops? For example home deliveries, payment by credit card only. Whether the PALIs are there or not, crime is taking place.

Mr Yan said increase despite restrictions and decrease in the number of days take-away alcohol can be sold “we haven’t seen much of a decrease in criminal activity.

“We’ve seen a slight reduction in domestic violence and other offences but on the flipside we’ve seen an increase in property offences, whether they be commercial or domestic.

“There needs to be a suite of other things to make that effective change.

“The restrictions have really driven up secondary supplies, sly grogging,” said Mr Yan.

“The vulnerable people who are addicted to alcohol are now blowing their incomes on paying huge amounts for alcohol, to the detriment of their families. The entire Centrelink money is blown on grog.”

Meanwhile Donna Ah Chee, CEO, of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, commented in a media release about the NT Government’s recent measures.

Her 459 word statement did not mention the word “curfew”.

“The emergency situation is a required circuit breaker that will lead to an immediate improvement,” she said.

“It is sad that we have got to the point where an emergency situation is declared to protect public safety.

“The emergency situation is a required circuit breaker that will lead to an immediate improvement.

“This emergency situation has been immediately caused by a family dispute due to recent tragic deaths in Alice Springs,” said Ms Ah Chee.

“However, these deaths have occurred on a backdrop of the decision by the Police Minister to walk away from full coverage of the take-away outlets with PALIs which has again led to an influx of remote people to town.

“It has further been caused by many years of lack of investment by successive governments, especially out bush, on the broader social determinants of the unacceptable behaviours we have seen from young people and related adults over recent days.

“We need to ensure that if young people being taken home do not have a safe home to return to that family responsibility agreements are utilised coupled with a targeted family support service.

“Parents need to take responsibility.

“It is really unfortunate that a decision was made to not target the $40 million announced for education in Central Australia only on the Aboriginal children and young people who are at the centre of our town’s social concerns.

“Amongst other unmet needs, there is a vital need to ensure there is access to long term, secure care rehabilitation for young people who are only likely to respond to this type of service.

“Congress does not want to ever see full coverage of all take-away liquor outlets by PALIs or their equivalent removed in the foreseeable future.”

PHOTO AT TOP: And now there were four. After bottle shop cops were withdrawn by the government, today there were four instead of two at the Coles liquor outlet. ABOVE: Yan (at right in the photo) and Burgoyne speaking to media.

PAST ALICE SPRINGS NEWS REPORTS

Cops at bottle shops: expensive bluff?

Cops at bottlos: how it works, and how it doesn’t

Bottle shop cops need to be brought into line: local chain

Bottle shop cops ‘security guards, paid for by the taxpayer’

Bottleshop cops deter grocery shoppers – claim

Are cops at bottle shops just bluffing?

1 COMMENT

  1. I have a question for Ms Ah Chee. You said: “We need to ensure that if young people being taken home do not have a safe home to return to that family responsibility agreements are utilised coupled with a targeted family support service.
    “Parents need to take responsibility.”
    I am in total agreement with you on the subject, but I would like to understand why it would be so hard to have a four or five bedrooms safe house in each town camp / community, to return the offenders to under the supervision of elders / grandmothers / aunties?

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