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Budget to ‘keep Territorians safe’

Written by on May 14, 2024

Keeping Territorians safe and reducing crime was the message from the Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler when she handed down the 2024-25 budget on Tuesday.

In recent years, the NT has witnessed shocking incidents of youth crime that erupted in March when 180 people rioted through the streets of Alice Springs.

The horrifying events captured on camera led to businesses and residents unwillingly falling victim to violence and property damage from rioters.

The event resulted in a youth curfew being imposed on the remote town for 14 days to prevent minors from terrorising the streets and engaging in criminal behaviour after dark.

To help combat law and order across the Top End, the NT government has now made a record investment of $570m across five years to help boost its police force.

“I am focused on delivering my commonsense plan and improving community safety,” Ms Lawler said.

The funding will allow for an extra 200 police officers and upgrades to existing and new police infrastructure, watch houses and housing.

An additional 18 highly trained officers will also form the Alice Springs Territory Safety Division to provide a rapid response to public disorder incidents in the town.

Ms Lawler said the officers would be highly visible and target youth crime.

“They will be deployed in addition to extra officers already in Alice – and they are proof of our commitment to stick tight with Alice now that the youth curfew has ended,” she said.

The NT will also invest $75m into correctional facilities to meet the demand of “rising prisoner numbers.”

Two new women’s prisons will be built in Darwin and Alice Springs and the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre will be refurbished and used as a temporary training facility to get male prisoners work-ready before it is knocked down.

The Alice Springs Correctional Centre will also be upgraded and an alternative to custody facility will be built to rehabilitate up to 30 Aboriginal male domestic and family violence offenders.

Residential youth justice facilities will also be built across the NT to ensure young people abide by court sentences and orders as well as provide training and education services to young people in custody to help them get their lives back on track and into the workforce.

“We will ensure that kids who commit crimes answer for their actions and that they complete training while in custody so they can turn their lives around,” Ms Lawler said.

The budget also includes $70m to reduce domestic, family and sexual violence in the Northern Territory.

“This is not a glamorous budget,” Ms Lawler said.

“Nothing matters more than keeping Territorians safe, and we have a duty to keep our police safe by making sure they have the numbers they need.

“My plan to strengthen the Northern Territory Police Force will ensure that there are enough frontline officers – and they have the support they need – to reduce crime in the Territory.”