Shadow Minister for Police, Lynne Walker, today said the NT crime statistics released today show there have been alarming increases in property crime in the Territory.
The NT crime statistics show a massive increase in break-ins across the Territory. There has been a 23.7 percent increase in domestic break-ins Territory wide; with an increase of 67.9 percent in Darwin,73.2 percent in Palmerston. Along with a rise in commercial break-ins of 103.7 percent in Palmerston, and 20.7 percent in Alice Springs.
Vehicle thefts have also increased by 27.9 percent; with a 38.4 percent increase in Darwin, a 55.8 percent increase in Palmerston.
Ms Walker said recent events have also highlighted the worrying levels of property crime and youth antisocial behaviour.
“Sadly many Territorians know from their own experiences that more needs to be done to tackle property crime in the Territory,” Ms Walker said.
“The Easter break saw increases in criminal activity, especially in Alice Springs, which has led to the formation of a taskforce to identify the root causes of this activity.
“The CLP Governments cuts to youth services, cuts to school holiday programs, are clear areas that need to be addressed by this taskforce to prevent future criminal activity.”
“While alcohol related crime has reduced statistically on the whole for the Territory, it is still a major issue for Darwin - which saw a 5.8 percent increase - and Palmerston, where access to alcohol by problem drinkers remains unfettered,” Ms Walker said.
“Territorians can see with their own eyes the scourge of alcohol fuelled violence and domestic violence in the Territory.
“The CLP Government’s limited alcohol management policy, of posting Territory Police at the front of bottle shops, while making small statistical gains, it cannot be ignored that it is draining on police resources, and is not sustainable.
“The Member for Katherine, Willem Westra van Holthe, revealed the Katherine Alcohol Rehabilitation facility will not be going ahead further narrowing the CLP’s armory to tackle problem drinking to unsustainable Temporary Beat Locations.
“The CLP Government needs to find a solution that is broad and holistic and acknowledge the constant recommendations by experts and calls to reinstate the Banned Drinkers Register – such as that by outgoing Police Association President, Vince Kelly.
“Territorians want the CLP Government to move away from their kneejerk reactions to tackling crime and adopt well thought, multifaceted long term strategies.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Lauren Moss, today welcomed the announcement of a holistic approach to youth at risk initiated by the NT Police, however condemned the comments in recent days by Minister Elferink, using a fear based campaign around child removal.
"It is simply outrageous that the Chief Minister and Minister for Children and Families, John Elferink, are leaping to the removal of children from their families in response to increased anti-social behaviour by children and young people. A fear campaign threatening removal of children does not get to the heart of these issues," Ms Moss said.
"The Minister has previously attributed an increase in child protection notifications to overzealous reporting by Police and yet now wants to use child removal as a threat.
"The care and protection of children should always be first and foremost about the welfare of children.
"If children are at risk, our Police and child protection workers should be attending to that as a part of their normal work; not as part of a political law and order campaign.
"Alice Springs social workers have been calling on the government to support and maintain youth outreach services that help identify children at risk. Instead of a measured and well informed plan all we have seen from the government is a knee jerk reaction to a known problem, threatening to take children into state care.
"Under this CLP government child protection is under increasing pressure with an $8m budget cut and a rapidly growing number of unresolved cases already in the system.”
Ms Moss said the CLP Government cut funding for youth and community services, including youth outreach services operating at night.
“The CLP Government’s cuts to youth services, cut support for school holiday programs, and policy decisions that put front line police officers in front of bottle shops, have contributed and exacerbated this issue,” Ms Moss said.
"It is time for the Minister to stop his grand standing, to take his responsibilities seriously and to address the increasingly slow follow up of real child protection notifications and act on the ‘Growing Them Strong, Together’ recommendations.”
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie said today the Chief Minister must end the cover up on CLP slush fund Foundation 51 and finally tell Territorians the truth about its shady operations.
Adam Giles has persistently denied that there is any relationship between the CLP and Foundation 51 – but this is not true.
In the Legislative Assembly on 7 May 2014 Adam Giles said “There is no direct connection between Foundation 51 and the Party.”
“But late funding disclosure returns lodged with the NT Electoral Commission indicate the CLP received hundreds of thousands of dollars of support from Foundation 51.
“The Chief Minister is a member of the CLP Management Committee and it is inconceivable he did not know about Foundation 51 donations to the CLP,” Ms Lawrie said.
A leaked email from Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis to then CLP President Braedon Early indicates that as long ago as November 2012 the CLP Executive Committee was aware of the extent of the financial support Foundation 51was providing to the CLP.
But this financial support was not disclosed as required by the Electoral Act until the CLP was pressured do so by leaked emails, questions in Parliament from the Labor Opposition and media scrutiny.
In the email Graeme Lewis stated “Like you, I will be mortified if this information becomes widely known. It must be closely held for obvious reasons.”
And in an email on 26 March 2014 to the Chief Minister, Graeme Lewis said that “He (the Chief Minister) and I have on many occasions discussed the matter of the Foundation and he is well disposed to having the Foundation continue its activity.”
"The CLP is adopting a deliberate strategy to distance itself from the Foundation 51 but Territorians will see through this deception” Ms Lawrie said.
“The Chief Minister should tell Territorians and the Legislative Assembly the truth about Foundation 51 and stop the deception.”
Foundation 51 is being investigated by the Australian and Northern Territory Electoral Commissions and the NT Police.
Media Contact: Sonia Peters 0437 762 881
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie today said the Giles CLP Government’s 2015 Budget fails to deliver the 120 extra police promised by the CLP before the last election.
“The Chief Minister and former Police Minister has failed to deliver on a key promise to the police and our community, when across the Territory we are seeing rises in crime, with house break-ins, car thefts, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled assaults.
“The budget funding announced does not even fill current vacancies in the force – let alone the 120 extra police promised.”
Police numbers have gone backwards under the CLP, last year the Police Annual Report showed numbers fell by 61.
“The CLP are running out of time to deliver this commitment before the next election, and this cynical ploy indicates they have no intention of keeping to their commitment.
“This budget announcement is a slap in the face to our hard-working police, right across the Territory, and is another example of how the CLP can’t be trusted.
The Police Association, representing police members, have clearly identified “the government is not meeting its election commitment, it’s a commitment that they made and now they’re trying to spin their way out of it.” *
Police Association President Vince Kelly also said, “a bit of honesty and integrity from these guys would go a long way or alternatively simply meet your election promise.” *
“Our police force is bearing the brunt of poor CLP policy on alcohol that is seeing police officers being used as a replacement for the Banned Drinkers Register – it is unsustainable and is negatively affecting police resourcing and morale.
“Last year’s $9 million in funding cuts to crime prevention and general policing under the CLP is adding to the difficulties for police to respond to crime,” Ms Lawrie said.
In Government, Labor delivered an extra 434 police officers and a further 94 extra officers, funded by the Federal Government, providing in total 494 additional police, growing police numbers by almost 50 per cent from 2001.
* Mix radio, 9 April 2015
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie said today the Giles CLP Government’s failure to address crime and antisocial behaviour in Alice Springs was impacting on local business and residents.
“It is an indictment on Adam Giles and his failed CLP policies that a weekend where taxis were pulled off the streets because of rock throwing, visitors assaulted, houses and businesses vandalised and broken into and large groups of young people were roaming the streets of the CBD late at night can be described as nothing unusual,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Adam Giles has a litany of broken promises to Alice Springs and sadly it is residents and businesses who are paying the price.
“Youth after hours services were slashed by the CLP Government and the results of this ill thought out policy are obvious with young people out on the streets late at night, reports of vandalism and graffiti and businesses and residents calling for action.
“Earlier this year Adam Giles promised funding for youth services – but money has still not been released.
“He says the Town Council will be conducting youth patrols with Congress, but there are few details on how this approach will work, when it will start and where the funding is coming from.
“Even members of his own Government are saying they got it wrong, with the CLP Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley saying it was a mistake to scrap the YSOS program.
“Adam Giles refuses to even acknowledge there are issues with crime in Alice Springs, instead making claims that the town has never had it so good.
“He is arrogant and out of touch with what is going on in his own backyard and Central Australia deserves better.’
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241211
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie has called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to urgently reinstate child protection and early intervention funding to address the child protection crisis.
“The number of child protection notifications falling through the cracks is at crisis levels, and on current trends will more than triple since the CLP were elected,” Ms Lawrie said.
“This follows savage CLP funding cuts that has seen massive job and capacity loss across the child protection system, critically at the important preventative end.”
“Latest figures indicate 1347 child protection notifications were not completed within the mandated 28 day timeframe in just the first six months of this financial year, up from 389 over the 12 months ending 30 June 2012.
“Every notification requires a response and it is not good enough for the Minister John Elferink to whitewash these numbers and suggest the problem is due to police over-reporting”
“The CLP have shown the have the wrong priorities. In just this year’s budget $8 million was cut from crucial prevention support services and the agency, while the Chief Minister added $30 million to his department and spends millions on self-promotion.
“The sector has seen significant funding cuts resulting in the loss of preventative programs.
“It has been reported 90 jobs have been lost from within the child protection system, and staff turn-over at 30 per cent, is creating a capacity crisis in the Children and Families Department.
“Caseload targets are 20 per worker, yet it was revealed in the Estimates process last year that under the CLP, some caseworkers had more than 50 cases to manage and no child protection office in the Territory met the target, a situation that has since likely worsened.
“The CLP have abandoned the recommendations of ‘Growing them Strong, Together’ report that focused on building child protection response capacity and early intervention and preventive programs, to prevent child abuse occurring and strengthen parenting support.
“Labor calls for an independent audit of child protection, including action on the ‘Growing them Strong, Together’ recommendations to address the current crisis.
“It is clear the Minister is not up to the job of protecting children when he states the core function of his agency is “the ambulance turning up at the crash scene.” *
(*) John Elferink MLA, Parliamentary record, 10 June 2014
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie has called on Chief Minister Adam Giles explain what he is doing to ensure crucial programs at Ngukurr School aren’t abandoned followingIndigenous Advancement Strategy funding cuts.
“I have been asked by parents at Ngukurr to speak out on behalf of their school to try and save the nutrition program and horse program that have failed to receive important ongoing funding,” Ms Lawrie said.
“I have met with community leaders in Ngukurr who are dismayed and shocked with CLP Senator Nigel Scullion’s decision to cut funding to two key programs supporting students and providing local Indigenous employment.
“The Nutrition program and Horse-Riding programs are delivering great outcomes for children and providing local jobs, but will face closure under the savage IAS cuts.
The Nutrition Program provides breakfast, recess and lunch, it supports five local jobs and is jointly funded by parents and the school, but will lose federal funding of about $200,000 per annum which makes it unaffordable to run.
“This funding decision fails to take into account the fact families are living in very overcrowded conditions, many with family living in the kitchen area that makes it unable to function and it provides a school canteen to ensure children are fed which is crucial to learning outcomes,” Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie praised the Riding Program which is has created two local jobs and is credited by community leaders as being a great support to school attendance and providing a pathway for students to employment in the cattle industry. This fantastic program is facing the axe due to a $230,000 funding cut.
“Ngukurr School is in the top six of Northern Territory remote schools for student attendance, averaging 74 per cent, yet the programs that support attendance are being cut,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Remote students and local Indigenous jobs are losing out under CLP Senator Nigel Scullion’s cruel funding cuts and the Territory Government need to ensure sustainable funding for these programs. If Senator Scullion ignores this need then the CLP need to ensure funding in this coming Budget.
“The CLP Giles Government received funding under IAS, but Adam Giles is yet to say what that funding is for. Is he willing to ensure these two crucial school programs are funded?
“Adam Giles has broken every promise he’s made to the bush. It’s time he stop the funding cuts to valuable services that support children to achieve great education outcomes and a pathway to employment, while employing local residents.”
Shadow Minister for Lands Michael Gunner has congratulated Chief Minister Adam Giles for finally moving on the long-delayed new Alice Springs suburb of Kilgariff.
“Labor would have delivered Kilgariff to the market with houses being built by 2013,” Mr Gunner said.
“It is now 2015 - under the CLP Government the Kilgariff project is a third of the original size and two years behind schedule.
“Back in 2012, then Infrastructure Minister Adam Giles said works at Kilgariff would be fast tracked and completed in 2013.
“The CLP missed their target of 100 blocks being up for sale by July 2013.
“Now there are only around 30 blocks for sale.
“Nearly three years of the CLP has seen Alice Springs go backwards at an alarming rate.
“The Alice economy and local residents are hurting with increasing power and water charges, long term local retailers shutting their doors and the CLP Government offering very little in the way of economic development planning for the future."
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today called on the Federal Government to provide Territory input into the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums taskforce.
“The establishment of this Taskforce is an acknowledgment of the real risk to Territorians of skyrocketing premiums following Adam Giles selling TIO,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Adam Giles sold TIO without a public mandate and in the face of evidence of market failure in Queensland following the sale of their public insurer.
Head of the Senate Inquiry, Warren Entsch, publicly stated on ABC Radio that he warned Adam Giles not to sell TIO, saying, “I was concerned that by selling it we would end up in the same situation we are in the rest of Northern Australia.”*
The Federal Senate Inquiry heard evidence that following the sale of Suncorp in Queensland, insurance became unaffordable or unavailable, and insurers withdrew cover in some regions.
“The Federal Government’s Taskforce is a welcome response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia to reduce insurance premiums back to an affordable level,” Ms Lawrie said.
“It has been reported the Taskforce will consider two options: a government-run reinsurance pool or community-owned Northern Australia mutual insurer providing cyclone-specific cover.
“We want to ensure that flood and storm-surge cover is also considered, alongside cyclone cover, as well as the provision of affordable contents insurance for non-home owners.
The Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce and the NT Council of Social Service are two organisations that could represent Territory industry and community on the Taskforce, to address concerns about affordability and accessibility of insurance coverage in the Territory.
“With three months to prepare an interim report, I call on the Federal Government to immediately invite Territory participation onto the Taskforce and release the consultation plan to ensure there is appropriate community and stakeholder engagement.”
*ABC Radio 12 November 2014
Territory Labor is listening to Indigenous organisations and supporting them in their calls to have IAS funding decisions reviewed, Opposition Minister for Young Territorians Lauren Moss said
“What we are hearing is that Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) cuts could cripple some of our vital and successful programs right across the Territory: from Alice Springs to Manigrida and Tennant Creek to Katherine,” Ms Moss said.
“The Chief Minister says he’s heard stories about front line job losses but no evidence, an extraordinary claim from a man who claims to be the NT Indigenous Affairs Minister.
“The Barkly Regional Council has had its youth development shattered and 27 Indigenous jobs are on the line.
“Katherine YMCA has had its funding decimated and the future of many of its successful young programs in uncertain.
“Central Desert Regional Council says it hasn’t been funded to meet the real costs of service delivery with cuts to its youth services and essential school nutrition programs.
“He is not listening to the Macdonnell Regional Council who will lose 51 Indigenous jobs from remote communities. Youth development services are decimated, with the Council only receiving 8 per cent of its current funding.
“Adam Giles is not listening to the Youth Service at Maningrida which has built up a suite of services keeping young people engaged and off the streets, but is now facing an uncertain future because of IAS cuts.
“20 per cent of Amity’s funding has been cut, resulting in Indigenous jobs losses and a reduction in programs working with young people and dealing with volatile substance abuse.
“If Adam Giles doesn’t believe these cuts will impact on the frontline that shows he’s really not listening.
“Adam Giles must ask his CLP colleague Nigel Scullion to release a full list of the organisations he’s de-funded, the list of organisations that have had severe cuts and explain his rationale about why he has savaged proven and successful programs.
“The Chief Minister should also be calling on Senator Scullion to free up the rumoured $200 million kept aside as “demand driven activity grants” to meet the shortfalls in funding.
“We’re also asking what the ‘demand driven’ funding is aimed at and seeking reassurances this is not going to be used to fund pork barrelling exercises going into elections.
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211