Peta Credlin details heartbreaking scenes in Alice Springs and the demands from locals crying out for more government help
Sky News Australia host Peta Credlin was on the ground in Alice Springs over the weekend to hear from locals who have been crying out for more help to combat the rising youth crime wave.
The town of 26,000 was thrust into the spotlight last week and received national coverage that forced intervention from the Prime Minister and Territory Government.
On Monday night, Credlin told her viewers about the dysfunctionality she’s seen and how longtime local residents and business owners are at breaking point in their beloved community.
She described the impact the months of violence had had on the town’s streets, with many businesses forced to close and others boarded up with metal roller shutters.
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“Some say they’re not sure it can even be turned around, others are more hopeful, but all of them have a great love for the central dessert place they call home,” she said.
“This is much bigger than just the ups and downs that many similar regional areas experience, it’s about government negligence, a lack of consistency in policing, a lack of accountability for how money is spent.
“It’s not a lack of money, but how it’s spent, and frankly, a town of people so worn out that many question how long they can stay.”
Many point to alcohol as the driving force behind the violent and anti-social behavior plaguing the town, following the demise of the Stronger Future laws which allowed easier access to booze in many communities.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles rejected calls to restore the bans, saying she would not support any “race-based” intervention.
She also rejected calls to bring in the Australian federal police or military to quell the violence, arguing that the Northern Territory has the adequate resources.
After meeting with Ms Fyles and other community leaders, Mr Albanese jointly announced the introduction of new alcohol restrictions following his brief visit.
Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson has described the response by both levels of government as inadequate.
He repeated calls on the ground demanding that the expired Stronger Futures laws be reinstated.
Meanwhile, Federal Labor MP Marion Scrymgour, whose electorate covers the majority of the Northern Territory, conceded her government’s Vote to Parliament proposal needed to take a back seat as rampant crime in the central Australian town be addressed.
“I think the Voice couldn’t be further from people’s view up here because people are under siege in their own home,” Ms Scrymgour told 3AW.
Credlin argued that the Albanian government was too focused on the constitutionally enshrined Vote, while seemingly ignoring the plight of Indigenous Australians in remote towns like Alice Springs.
“Firstly, it is wrong to enshrine race in our constitution, and to give one group of Australians more say in how we are governed than everyone else, based on the time your ancestors were here,” Credlin said.
“But secondly, this idea that another conversation festival in Canberra, especially one dominated by grievance-peddling activists, is going to solve problems is just ridiculous.”
Frustrated locals gathered for a community meeting on Monday night where organizer Garth Thompson blasted the Northern Territory Government, arguing Alice Springs residents “deserve to be compensated” for what they have been through.
“I am more than proud to stand here and say that we, as a community of Alice Springs, are about to sue our government for $1.5 billion in compensation,” he told the packed Convention Center said.