The CLP are continuing to fail miserably when it comes to law and order for the residents of Darwin and Palmerston with crime on the increase, said Shadow Minister for Police Lynne Walker.
The latest crime statistics show assaults in Darwin are now up 12.5% with motor vehicle theft up 35.1% in Darwin and up 52.5% in Palmerston.
The news just gets worse with house break-ins in Darwin up 64.8% and 56.95% in Palmerston where commercial break-ins are up a staggering 102.5%.
“These figures are higher than the Christmas crime wave and Darwin and Palmerston residents are rightly asking what the CLP is doing to stop this out of control crime.
“We know TBLs have had some impact in lowering crime statistics but they are not sustainable and what is also clear is that drinkers are heading up the Stuart highway to avoid the TBLs in Katherine and Tennant Creek.
“The CLP cannot ignore the recommendations of the bipartisan report of the Senate Inquiry into domestic and family violence which recommends the reinstatement of the Banned Drinkers’ Register,” Ms Walker said.
A Territory Parliamentary Committee into the prevention of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder recommended further analysis be undertaken on Temporary Beat Locations and the Banned Drinker Register and to implement personal point of sale restrictions.
“Police, including highly trained members of the Tactical Response Group, need to be able to get back to the police work they were trained to do to keep communities safe and catch criminals, not being bouncers outside licensed premises at TBLs.”
Once again residents of our cyclone vulnerable communities, including major towns and homelands along our northern coast, are taking shelter from cyclonic winds or having to be evacuated to a safer place, Labor Member for Nhulunbuy said today.
“Our thoughts with all these Territory families, particularly the aged and young children who again have to shelter from a dangerous cyclone, uncertain as to their well-being and what they will find after cyclonic winds abate,” Ms Walker said.
“This is a particularly stressful time for residents in many Top End communities experiencing the same fear and uncertainty they felt just a few weeks ago.
“We thank again all the emergency services, local organisations and residents working together to make sure people are safe and ready so that recovery operations can commence as soon as it is safe to do so.
“It is also time for the Giles government to be clear on what it is doing in terms of new housing and repairs to community infrastructure following Cyclone Lam at Galiwin’ku, Ramingining, Milingimbi, Gapuwiyak and surrounding homelands.
“That includes funding for more cyclone shelters and necessary improvements to existing shelters.
“At Galiwin’ku alone over 250 adults and children continue to be housed in a temporary tent accommodation set up for 8 weeks use. These families need certainty about their future housing and that should be a key priority of the Giles government.
“We have heard a lot from Housing Minister Bess Price about the amount of damage caused to public housing by Cyclone Lam but very little about actual plans and a real commitment to fast track housing repairs and replacement.
“Schools at Milingimbi and Ramingining also require urgent work to replace damaged class rooms and ensure all school programs can continue as they should, especially important programs focusing on early childhood learning and development.
“Territorians are once again showing their strength and resilience, working together to keep people safe as well as quickly responding to damage in the first important weeks after being hit by Cyclone Lam.
“But now they look to the Giles government to be clear on what action they are taking to ensure long term recovery, permanent housing for displaced families and strengthening of community safety.”
The CLP government needs to explain why it has taken so long to commence the criminal investigation into former NT Police Commissioner John McRoberts.
They must also assure the public that the memorandum of understanding and terms of reference are broad enough to cover the serious allegations made by Chief Minister Adam Giles in early February, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Police Lynne Walker said today.
“I am alarmed to hear that the criminal investigation can’t start because the government hasn’t drawn up the paperwork,” she said.
“I’m also concerned that the terms of reference won’t be wide enough to investigate the CLP’s involvement or receive the evidence that Adam Giles said he’d collected when he raised very serious allegations about senior police and CLP politicians colluding to damage him.
“Adam Giles has undermined public confidence in the criminal justice system and has made public comments which tarnish our hard working police men and women.
“He promised to hold a Judicial Inquiry into these serious matters but walked away from that undertaking.
“Media reports yesterday indicated that the Police Minister, Peter Chandler is confused about the arrangements.
“This is just more dysfunction from an incompetent government.”
“Peter Chandler needs to confirm that the memorandum of understanding and the terms of reference for the investigation are wide enough to capture all the allegations made by the Chief Minister.”
“Has the Chief Minister referred all the evidence he says he has to the AFP – emails, phone records, text messages to find out – in his own words ‘who knew what, when’?”
The CLP Government should implement the findings of a Senate Inquiry and immediately reintroduce the Banned Drinkers Register to protect women and children from domestic and family violence, Shadow Women’s Policy Minister Lynne Walker said today.
Ms Walker said the Senate Inquiry sitting in Darwin last week heard compelling evidence from witnesses that the BDR worked to reduce alcohol-related violence against women.
“The Inquiry’s interim report has recommended the BDR be reinstated after hearing horrific stories from frontline services dealing with the Territory’s appalling rates of violence.
“We know the BDR was effective at tackling alcohol-related domestic and family violence.
“The fact is that Temporary Beat Locations provide a false sense of security when it comes to reducing domestic and family violence,” Ms Walker said.
“TBLs aren’t a permanent solution and there is growing anecdotal evidence of black market sales in towns like Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests hardcore drinkers are also being pushed up the track into Darwin and Palmerston.
“We need to be looking at a suite of complementary measures to make women and children safer and I call on CLP Minister Bess Price to take up the Senate Inquiry recommendations.
“If Minister Price is serious about making Territory women and children safer, and not just talking about it, she should be lobbying the Federal Government hard to restore funding to housing and homeless services, legal aid and increasing the capacity of services.
“And she should be going straight to the Chief Minister and telling him to reinstate the BDR.
“The women and children of the Northern Territory deserve to live in safety and the Senate Inquiry recommendations give Minister Price a clear path to make it happen.”
Opposition Health Minister Lynne Walker has called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to reveal which Territory communities will benefit from $10 million in Federal funds for renal dialysis services.
“I am happy to see Adam Giles finally recognising this funding committed by the previous Labor Government should be spent out bush rather than in larger towns,” Ms Walker said.
“But he still won’t say where the funding will be spent and Health Minister John Elferink is completely silent on the issue.
“Community Services Minister Bess Price had said water supplies on remote communities weren’t good enough to support dialysis, but she seems to have finally read her brief on this and changed her mind.
“There has been an enormous amount of delay and confusion around this funding which is desperately needed to improve dialysis services in patient’s home communities.
“The CLP Government has dragged its heels for nearly three years on accepting this money and only last month it was revealed in Senate Estimates that NT had put up a last minute proposal to use the money to accommodate patients to come into towns like Alice Springs to receive treatment.
“Meanwhile we have renal patients living rough because they can’t get accommodation in town and there aren’t nearly enough dialysis services out bush.”
Ms Walker said providers such as Western Desert Dialysis had developed clear proposals on where the money could be most effectively spent to provide new services.
“The CLP Government has already had to return $3 million to the Commonwealth from the original commitment of $13 million.
“Adam Giles needs to reveal whether the NT Government is supporting the proposal by providers that would see dialysis in seven new sites and an extension of services in two communities.
“Or is there a whole other scenario that is being looked at that will result in even more delays with this desperately needed funding?”
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie and Shadow Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Lynne Walker visited Galiwin’ku, Ramingining and Milingimbi this week to see the impact of Cyclone Lam and recovery efforts underway.
Ms Lawrie said that the impact of Cyclone Lam was significant and praised the efforts of local residents who had endured a very harrowing night and then quickly went into clean-up mode.
“It is a miracle that no-one was seriously injured during the cyclone and the overwhelming feeling of relief among these communities was tangible,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Everyone had praise for PowerWater who were often the first on the ground to work diligently to restore essential services.
“Co-ordination centres were quickly established in each community and I have nothing but praise for local service providers – councils, schools, health and RJCP – worked with traditional owners to tackle the enormous task of clearing trees and assessing damage. The remote arborists have been magnificent.
“I acknowledge hard working public servants who are busy behind the scenes assisting with systems and logistics to support those at the front line of cyclone affected communities.”
Ms Walker said that her community of Galiwin’ku were relieved they had two cyclone shelters that provided sanctuary.
“I thank the Shepherdson College principal and staff and Marthakal Homelands Resource Centre for a great effort to keep residents safe and cared for during the cyclone.
“The entire community has worked together to take on the enormous task of clearing roads and access to homes and community buildings and temporary shelter at the oval is welcome. The big question is what comes next.
“We have a lot of homes that need to be repaired or replaced and people are asking what the construction program is. This is work that needs to be planned and I look forward to receiving advice from government.”
Ms Lawrie said that Galiwin’ku had enormous challenges ahead for the replacement of destroyed housing just as Ramingining and Milingimbi has the task of replacing damaged school buildings.
“Our communities are resilient but the construction task is significant and it will take resources from Territory and our Federal Government working together,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Labor stands committed to working with our communities to seek a reconstruction program that will replace destroyed buildings and homes.”
Member for Nhulunbuy Lynne Walker said her office has been inundated today with queries about the CLP Cabinet visit.
Ms Walker said there was a lot of confusion about the visit with most residents being unaware the Cabinet was turning up and no broad community invitations to any event.
“We have heard that Cabinet Ministers have chartered in and will charter out and that it is not a community Cabinet visit but instead a Cabinet meeting with a select few being invited to a carefully stage managed meet and greet with no opportunity for questions," Ms Walker said.
“Is this how the CLP intends to do business shrouded in secrecy with a select few?
“This is an opportunity for the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues to hold a community forum to hear directly the concerns of businesses, traditional owners and families affected by the Rio Tinto refinery curtailment.
“Will Adam Giles explain why the CLP are viewing the refinery as a curtailment rather than the closure it actually is? Will Adam Giles explain what the Government is saying to Rio Tinto in relation to the rehabilitation of the toxic Red Mud Ponds?
“Will anyone in the CLP Cabinet explain why there isn’t a Structural Adjustment Package for Nhulunbuy and the region as is usually the case in every other Australian regional city impacted by an industrial shutdown of this scale?
“Will the Corrections Minister John Elferink explain to Nhulunbuy residents why he has gazetted the closure of the town’s only sobering up shelter and alcohol rehabilitation facility to turn it into a prison against the community’s wishes?”
Ms Walker said she supported community corrections facilities but called on the Government to invest in a facility – which would create jobs and economic stimulus – rather than close vital existing services.
“Will the Health Minister Robyn Lambley explain why she is sitting on Commonwealth funding to deliver a new and much-needed Emergency Department at Gove District Hospital?” Ms Walker asked.
“We’re sick of this Government treated us with contempt and the sneakiness and exclusiveness of this visit is appalling.”
Media contact: Michael Gleeson 0400 096 924