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So where is Alice Springs now?

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

In the weeks since I last posted there have been numerous news stories on Alice Springs, in print, on radio and on TV. We’ve had another public meeting, this one was open to everyone in Alice Spring and arranged by the Alice Springs Town Council.

Reports show it was well attended with around 200-300 people turning up to listen and to speak. Quite a few good ideas on how to progress with solutions for the town’s social problems were suggested. That’s great, really it is. But the question is, will the NT & Commonwealth Governments listen?

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, is suggesting a new intervention to prevent violence & crime in the town. The Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of the NT have both criticised Mr Abbott’s suggestion.

One thing I learned about Tony Abbott this week was that he has worked as a teacher in Indigenous communities. For me, that means he does have some understanding of the challenges faced by our first Australians. His call to consult with Indigenous leaders in the NT is a worthwhile one I think. Unfortunately I don’t think his call for a bipartisan approach to the “what do we do with Alice Springs?” problem will go anywhere. The NT government is not interested, nor is the serving Commonwealth government.

Crime levels have dropped in Alice Springs recently. Partly due to the rain (too wet to burgle or beat people up I guess) and partly due to the slight increase in police numbers. Crime stories from Alice Springs still make the news. Like last Tuesday’s assault on a British tourist. BUT … overall, the town remains quite safe for visitors. Majority of crime in Alice Springs is black on black. With a number of annoying break-ins amongst the general residential & business communities. Annoying, disheartening, occasionally unpleasant to watch or experience but otherwise safe.

Next week sees the NT Government holding its Cabinet meeting here in Alice Springs. That promises to be fiery, more so if there are any vocal demonstrations by the people of Alice Springs. Anyone remember those noisy demonstrations some years back when Clare Martin was still in power? I’m predicting something like that.

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