Hal: Mark clearly stated that “While the importance of executing …

Comment on LETTER: Taking no prisoners by Bob Durnan.

Hal: Mark clearly stated that “While the importance of executing warrants is clear, many of the people recently arrested on warrants are facing minor charges which will not attract sentences of imprisonment.” For the most part, these will probably be in relation to traffic, fighting and other public order offences, and failure to comply with bail conditions or DVOs. Most will be repeat offenders, or “recidivists”.
Most will have been raised in bush communities for at least some of their childhoods, but now living in Alice Springs, here for varying periods and a range of reasons. The reasons will be dominated by boredom with, and alienation from other people in, their home communities, and the attractions of easy access to alcohol and cannabis in Alice.
They are likely to have attended school, but only a little, so that their average literacy and numeracy levels will be, at best, around mid-primary school average attainment. They will mostly call “home” other people’s living room floors, verandahs, yards or a tin shed.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

LETTER: Taking no prisoners
Hal
The relevant flaws in the justice system are the lack of provision for community service as a practically available sentencing option, and the lack of home detention, particularly in remote communities. My understanding is that previous efforts to develop these options foundered on the problem of supervision. There were usually no sufficiently reliable methods of supervising the convicts in most remote communities. To create this capacity was judged to be too expensive. There may have been other factors involved. I think in some communities high levels of non-compliance may have led to political opposition to use of such options.
In response to your question: at present there doesn’t appear to be any easily identifiable solutions available or being applied to the problem of “how … our urban society is supposed to deal with these law breakers”. This is partly why many of us, probably like you, think it is so urgent that measures such as a floor price on alcohol, and days without take-away alcohol sales, should be introduced, to help provide a buffer to these problems. In the long term, the new early childhood and family intervention programs should help ease the rate of offending. Some Aboriginal family leaders support more radical measures, such as the introduction of an NT licence to drink alcohol, and extension of compulsory Income Management to cover more than half of welfare benefits.
Personally, I would support these reforms, provided they were to be applied to everybody, and I have called for more pressure on the recipients of unemployment benefits to have to accept available work, even if this requires them to move from home, provided they are psychologically able to cope with leaving home and have access to some affordable accommodation in the vicinity of the jobs.
However I also believe that – at the same time – governments have no choice other than to support more job creation and accommodation programs, to enable some of the less adaptable unemployed, and people who are unable to leave because they are caring for others, to do socially useful work in remote communities.
I believe this because there is simply nowhere near the amount of accommodation or conditions suitable for them and their dependents in the towns and cities where most of the existing services and work opportunities are available.
Any such new job creation programs would need to be better planned, funded and monitored than the old CDEP projects, which were usually hamstrung by important factors such as insufficient funds, and lack of suitable accommodation and other infrastructure needed to attract and retain high quality staff in sufficient numbers to guarantee strong planning, administration, supervision of workers, and training. There would have to be stringent requirements that wages only be provided for work performed properly. Participants’ wages also need to be at award rates, and as far as possible the work provided should be commensurate with their skills. Full-time work should be available for those who want it.
If I am correct in these assumptions, then we have a very big job on our hands in trying to persuade governments about these needs, and also to persuade great numbers of the taxpaying voters to overcome some of their prejudices and cynicism, and get behind such a program!


Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Price family were sole complainants against Cocking & Satour 
Conservative (posted May 1, 2019 at 9:19 am): what do you mean by ‘props to Erwin’? Stage ‘props’? It doesn’t make sense.


Road toll drops by half
Like InterestedDarwinObserver, I think Assistant Commissioner Beer’s claim is a somewhat questionable one.
Given that the majority of NT road deaths are normally the result of single vehicle roll-overs on remote roads, it is questionable whether more intensive traffic policing in Alice would necessarily produce this good result as claimed.
We would need a much bigger sample and more details of the individual accidents to really get an idea about what is actually going on here.


Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal, (Posted April 14, 2019 at 1:29 am): Don’t be so disingenuous. It is obvious from the article that CLC staff have been trying very hard to get permission to act.
They have now made their frustrations known to the relevant authorities, who are able to step in.
My point is that your criticism should have been aimed at those responsible (the traditional owners in question), not at the CLC as an organisation, as the staff are trying to do their job and get something done about the situation.
I was at both Mulga Bore and Angula a little over a week ago, and found very few people at Mulga, and none at Angula.
There were no dead horses that I saw, or smell of dead horses, around the houses then at either place, but there may have been some elsewhere. Of course the carcasses should be disposed of, wherever they are; that is what the writer and the CLC are trying to achieve.


Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal: How would the Land Council stand legally if it were to destroy the property of a set of traditional owners without their permission? The CLC does not own the horses.
They are either the property of individual traditional owners and traditional owner family groups, or of persons who have contracts with the TOs to allow their horses to be on the TOs’ land.
Or else they are the responsibility of the particular Land Trust trustees on whose land they are located.
Legally the CLC as a statutory body can only consult and advise the traditional owners, and act on their instructions. It cannot make decisions for them without their permission.


Billen’s family: Make telling hotel where you trek mandatory
Ruth Gibbins (Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:55 pm): Monika Billen was not at Trephina Gorge, the park reserve about 85 km east of Alice, where the German couple, the Thors, died from thirst or exposure 12 months ago.
Monika visited a different park reserve, Emily Gap, which is only about 10 km east of Alice. She seemingly walked there by herself on a very hot day, above 40 degrees centigrade.
Monika was apparently found under a tree in a rugged area, well away from the road, about three km back towards Alice from that small gorge.
So she died in the bush about seven km east of Alice, but in the bush, off the road.
There is no established walking track through the bush from Emily Gap to Alice.
Sadly, Monika had been missing for a week before anybody realised that she had not returned from her walk to and from Emily gap, along a non-designated route, in the extreme heat.


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