A youth curfew during periods of period of "high social unrest," grappling with how to make parents pay for the damage done by their kids, an institution for young people out of control or with special needs, the government paying up to half a million dollars a year for some children in residential care services, massive cuts in Federal funding for child welfare and protection – these are some of the waypoints on the long and lonely road of the Minister for Children and Families, Robyn Lambley (pictured with constituents, photo supplied by her office). She spoke with editor ERWIN CHLANDA.
The Northern Territory is mostly on the bottom of the heap of national education indicators, and the nation itself has slid downwards compared with other countries.
The Gonski Report, the Review of Funding for Schooling commissioned by the Federal Government, makes dismal reading.
For example, the Territory has the nation's lowest proportion – just under 70% – of the 20 to 24 year-old population with Year 12 or equivalent attainment (2008).
That's for the non-indigenous population.
For the NT's indigenous population the figure is 24%. The corresponding figure for the other states is at least double that (see graph). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Ald Eli Melky (pictured at left) will move his controversial motion for a youth curfew at Monday's town council meeting.
He says it's no big deal, not a bid to change the world, just a logical
move to round off the plethora of existing youth services.
He believes there are 57 of them, counting government ones and NGOs, mostly working 9 to 5.
Now watch it all unravel.
Ald Melky says while it appears there are hundreds of young people about
at night, it's just "30 to 40 kids who are holding the population to
In a conversation with the Alice Springs News Online he suggests making
it unlawful for them to be on the streets after 10pm will actually keep
Our discussion soon turns to the question: Why should this new law make
any difference to those 30 to 40 kids, given that breaking the law –
pretty well with impunity – is a way of life for them? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO at top: Aldermen John Rawnsley and Samih Habib Bitar at a "get to know you" evening with street kids in early 2009.