"They are warm, caring, inquisitive, fair, funny, but somehow they are all getting into trouble." In the wake of the tragic shooting of Kumunjayi Walker in Yuendumu, youth worker RAINER CHLANDA tells the story of a five day camp out bush with young Warlpiri people who are in contact, as Walker was, with the justice system. He asks, “How do we change whatever has led to these good kids behaving so badly?”
The NT Chief Minister has again revealed his ideological rejection of evidence-based alcohol policy in the NT. Adam Giles’ failure on the ABC’s Lateline last Thursday to nominate a single expert who supports the CLP’s Alcohol Mandatory Treatment (AMT) Bill, particularly the criminalisation of drunkenness, shows an astonishing resistance to evidence, writes Dr. John Boffa (pictured), of the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC).
New Chief Minister Terry Mills spoke about big changes in the government's tourism promotion arm and gave details of the legislative foundation for obligatory alcohol rehabilitation during a rushed doorstop news conference in Alice Springs this morning.
Photo: Mr Mills (right) at the Desert Mob exhibition with Desart CEO Philip Watkins this morning.
Updates: Why did someone from the Top End, not Central Australia, get the top tourism advisory position? And Terry's slip of the tongue.
Country Liberals leader Terry Mills pledged $2.5m "to transform the Anzac Hill youth centre into a Police and Citizens Youth Club".
It will "have access to youth workers and other appropriate support networks as well as organised activities and sports infrastructure," he said during a whistlestop visit to Alice Springs today.
"The existing centre will be re-developed in stages [no time frame is given] and the upgraded facility will include a cafe operated by the PCYC."
Asked how many blocks at the new Kilgariff suburb will be sold and at what price, he said the market would set the prices.
Will there be an amalgamation of prison and alcohol rehabilitation farms?
Mr Mills said these facilities would be for people failing to seek help.
"But if that is not sought [that would be] a breach of a court order and then there would be the intervention."
But Russell Goldflam, president of the Criminal Lawyers Association, says this is tantamount to re-criminalising drunkenness.
Mr Mills said there would be 20 extra police in Alice Springs permanently, "not just when some problem arises that causes embarrassment for the government."
He could not answer what new infrastructure the tourism industry could expect because the proposed new tourist commission had not yet been set up.
PHOTOS: Country Liberals leader Terry Mills and MLA for Araluen Robyn Lambley this morning, with reporters. A sketch of what the refurbished centre would look like.
As there was no opportunity for asking Mr Mills further questions this morning the Alice Springs News Online has emailed him these:-
• Would a CL government provide two more lots of $5m to the Alice Springs Town Council, as it requested, for the revitalisation of town centre? (The Labor commitment is for just $2.5m).
• What plans, if any, does the CL have for the development of horticulture and agriculture in remote areas to soak up the massive number of unemployed there?
The NT Government continues to focus its alcohol policy reforms on "problem drinkers", seen as those who commit alcohol-related crime.
Minister for Alcohol Policy, Delia Lawrie, has introduced legislation to Territory parliament that gives police and the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Tribunal "additional tools to get problem drinkers out of public places and into rehabilitation".
Police will have the power to issue an infringement notice to people drinking in a public place within two kilometres of licensed premises and causing a nuisance to other persons. This will be in in addition to their existing power to tip out grog.
The infringement notice will be linked to the Banned Drinker Register, increasing "the ability of police to target repeat offenders and direct them into treatment".
The AOD Tribunal will be able to force problem drinkers into rehabilitation and also to make orders that a person be subject to income management.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Conservative British Government proposing to introduce a floor price for alcohol in the UK, a floor price at least for the NT has again become a hot debating point. – Kieran Finnane