The NT Independent is providing all the parties’ policies in one handy spot for your ease of reference ahead of the August 22 NT general election. This page will be updated as new policies are announced.
Crime in the Northern Territory is at the forefront of voters’ minds in the lead up to this August’s NT general election. Public opinion polls have consistently shown crime as the biggest issue concerning Territorians.
Despite pledges to fix the problem, there is no easy solution to the crime plague gripping the NT.
Here’s what the major parties are offering for solutions:
COUNTRY LIBERAL PARTY
The CLP plans to establish an alternative sentencing option for courts dealing with youths who commit offences. They plan to build a new purpose-built boot camp in Alice Springs they call “sentenced to a skill.” The boot camp is targeted to provide skills training to youths who are on the wrong track, in an effort to reduce re-offending and increase employment prospects.
The CLP has also pledged to strengthen the Northern Territory’s police force to tackle crime by introducing a six-pronged approach that includes delivering continuous police recruiting, increasing penalties for assaulting and abusing police officers, focusing on remote policing and rolling back youth justice changes made by the Labor Government, amongst others.
The Territory Alliance plans to address youth crime by remodeling existing programs for youth diversion into tiered pathways, that will see first time non-serious offenders put through diversion programs with other measures reserved for repeat and serious offenders. A Community Justice Commission will be established and Community Court Sentencing will be rolled out.
The Territory Alliance has also pledged to strengthen the Police Support and Wellbeing Unit. They plan to improve the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) programs and include presumptive legislation for all first responders. They also plan to roll out police recruitment programs including Aboriginal Community Police Officers and advances in remote patrolling. Their policy received the tick of approval from the NT Police Association.
The NT Greens have pledged to create a more diverse, equal, and peaceful future through working with the First Nations people to establish a path for sovereignty and treaties and to close the gap. They also plan to end to offshore detention, improve community safety through stronger gun laws, and call out discrimination, bias and bigotry.
Labor has been slow to roll out their platform and policies this election season, but recently announced $20 million for 66 additional frontline constables to help manage additional tasks brought on by COVID-19 “while continuing to tackle youth crime and alcohol abuse” as well as 30 Aboriginal liaison officers, 10 Aboriginal community police officers, and 25 support staff.
The party also recently stated they would make repeat youth offenders clean graffiti, clear weeds and do landscaping as part of new measures to tackle the youth crime problem.
Community accountability boards featuring businesses and elders will be created to establish community expectations, the party said, adding that they will also introduce a maximum 10-year sentence for an adult who recruits a youth to commit a crime and make bail tougher for repeat offenders.
The Territory Labor website does not have any policies listed and the party appears to be releasing their election policies through the NT News, behind a paywall.
YOU can find Labor’s new youth crime policy pledge on the NT News website here (but you’ll need a subscription)
NT’s major political parties are non-committal on raising age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14.
None of the Territory’s three major political parties will commit to keeping children as young as 10 out of prison by raising the age of criminal responsibility despite a heightened push from legal experts, doctors and justice groups.
The noncommittal positions of NT Labor and Territory Alliance, and the rejection of the idea by the CLP, were highlighted last month when Australia’s state and federal attorneys-general met to discuss raising the age of criminal responsibility.