‘Over it’: Mayor’s grim curfew prediction

Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson said the town’s snap three-day curfew would affect businesses and essential services. Picture: Supplied
Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson said the town’s snap three-day curfew would affect businesses and essential services. Picture: Supplied

Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson believes the curfew hitting the outback town will not only be extended but have unintended “flow-on” effects that will decimate local businesses and the local community.

Spurred on by a spate of violent assaults, including an incident in which a police officer was allegedly run over, people of all ages are under a 10pm to 6am curfew, which won’t end until Thursday morning at the earliest.

However, Mr Paterson said the curfew would likely go longer, similar to the two-week youth curfew implemented in April, following a spate of escalating violence.

Mr Paterson told Channel 9 the community was frustrated and “just over it”, with many long-term residents fleeing the town.

“Over the last few years, we’ve had it tough but we need to get back to celebrating why Alice Springs is so good and these things continually make it difficult,” he said.

Mayor Matt Paterson said the community was ‘over it’. Picture: Supplied
Mayor Matt Paterson said the community was ‘over it’. Picture: Supplied

“It’s hard for our tourism market, it’s for hard nurses and doctors to recruit, and it just breaks my heart to witness what’s going on week in, week out.”

Businesses have also been forced to close down, including two licensed venues, both of which were “mum and dad businesses”, Mr Paterson said.

“It’s not just the impact of the curfew, it’s the tourism, it’s the businesses, it’s the flow-on, it’s being on national (news),” he said.

“It’s very difficult to comprehend, but first and foremost we need our community to be safe, and we need to give the police the tools to be able to do that.”

Alice Springs residents of all ages will be under curfew from 10pm to 6am until Thursday morning. Picture: Jason Walls
Alice Springs residents of all ages will be under curfew from 10pm to 6am until Thursday morning. Picture: Jason Walls

Northern Territory senator Jacinta Price said curfews were “only temporary measures” and backed calls for a boarding school, which have been supported by the principal of the local Ypiranga School for Aboriginal children.

“These kids come from town camps and they’re some of our most marginalised,” she said on the ABC.

“We need to look at the problem starting with them before they head down the road toward incarceration and the sorts of behaviour we’re seeing carried out on our streets.”

Ms Price also said it was likely the curfew would be “longer than three days”; however, she said that if it was just three days”, she had “no doubt” there would be repeat incidents

“Because the underlying problems aren’t fixed through a curfew,” she said.

SENATE ESTIMATES
Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said curfews were ‘only temporary measures’. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Martin Ollman

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said while a curfew was “important,” it wasn’t the “be-all and end-all”.

“The judicial system is not the answer but the community working with government is the answer, and that’s very much the way in which I’m pursuing the issues,” she told the ABC.

Ms Burney wouldn’t comment on whether the curfew would be extended but called on people to “take the politics out” of the situation.

“Everyone’s views are important. Everyone’s views should be listened to. But we cannot get away from the poverty, the deprivation, the shocking living conditions and, quite frankly, young people not being able to see a future,” she said.