Labor’s federal candidate for Lingiari Marion Scrymgour says she cannot defend the Gunner Government’s handling of the ongoing crime crisis in Alice Springs and that they “have to stand up and respond to this important issue”.
Ms Scrymgour, a former Territory Labor deputy chief minister, was speaking to ABC Radio in Alice Springs yesterday when the crime issue was raised.
“I’m not going to defend the Northern Territory Labor Government, that’s up for them to step up and stand up and respond to what are some critical issues in Central Australia, but also in Alice Springs. I mean … if you think there isn’t an issue in Alice Springs, there is,” she said.
“So, look, I’m not going to defend them, they need to respond to it.”
Ms Scrymgour was asked if her unwillingness to defend the Gunner Government was because of their poor handling of the crime issue.
“Look, it’s up to them, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna own their… that’s something that they’re going to have to stand up and respond to this important issue,” she responded.
Ms Scrymgour added that while crime is a Territory issue, she has had discussions with Alice Springs council, the Gunner Government and Aboriginal leaders and community groups about the situation in town and what type of federal help could be provided if she is elected.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner and Police Minister Nicole Manison have meanwhile avoided publicly discussing the ongoing crime crisis in Alice Springs and across the NT, offering only motherhood statements about it being a “complex” issue.
Ms Manison said last week on Darwin radio that the Gunner Government would be making announcements about cracking down on anti-social behaviour in Darwin, blaming an increase in crime in the city on “extra people in town” and suggesting again that it is “a tough issue”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in Alice Springs over the weekend to announce $14 million in federal funding to combat crime, including to be used for more CCTV units in town, to create a new mental health service and $4 million to expand night patrols by Tangentyere Council and Alice Springs Council.
That funding commitment was matched by federal Labor.
Ms Scrymgour is running in the federal lower house seat of Lingiari to replace former Labor MP Warren Snowdon who recently retired. She is running against the CLP’s Damien Ryan, the Greens’ Blair McFarland, George Kasparek of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Gallard of One Nation, Allen McLeod of the United Australia Party and independent candidates.
Mr Ryan also called on the Gunner Government on ABC Radio yesterday to address the ongoing crime problem with real solutions instead of continuing to ignore it.