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Police funding boost after curfew as PM tours Alice

Kat Wong -
NT

Police in Alice Springs will receive millions in additional funding after a series of violent brawls led local authorities to impose a three-week curfew, as the prime minister touches down in Alice Springs.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus on Monday announced a $14.2 million boost to policing and other community safety supports.

It adds extra funding to an $8 million partnership between the Northern Territory and federal governments that was first signed in May.

The agreement, which was originally aimed at increasing police operations in Alice Springs to "act as a circuit breaker" and improve community safety in the short to medium term, was to expire in June but has now been extended to December, 2025.

"We continue to work closely with the Northern Territory government to tackle crime, keep women and children safe and support young people in communities across Alice Springs and Central Australia," Mr Dreyfus said.

But justice advocates warn this does not address the root causes.

Justice Reform Initiative's executive director Mindy Sotiri said the government should invest in evidence-based approaches such as early intervention and prevention programs if it wanted to address crime and improve community safety in Alice Springs.

"Punitive measures such as curfews, tightening bail and increasing police numbers are focused on pulling more people into the criminal justice system, increasing the chances of becoming trapped there for years," Dr Sotiri said.

"The answers to crime and over-incarceration don't live inside the justice system - they are in community.

"We need policymakers and police to work with Aboriginal leaders and support community-led organisations working on the frontline."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese touched down in Alice Springs on Monday, a fortnight after its three-week curfew came to an end.

He spruiked his government's investment in the territory, including health hubs and access to healthcare assessments.

"It was an opportunity to come and see the progress that is being made here," he said when asked why he decided to visit.

The curfew was first imposed in late March after an 18-year-old was killed in a car crash which triggered clashes between rival families and led to a surge of violence.

The Northern Territory government declared an emergency and prohibited children under 18 from entering central Alice Springs between 6pm and 6am.

Since the end of the order, extra police patrols have been introduced to prevent a return to violence as government social workers have provided support for families.

The prime minister is expected to appear at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, one of the biggest Aboriginal community controlled health services in the territory, where he will announce a $19 million funding boost for the organisation.

The money will be used to build a new health hub to provide a range of resources for disability, aged care, social and emotional wellbeing, youth and family support, and public health improvement.

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

Kat Wong - AAP

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