Snap curfew in Alice Springs has worked, mayor says

July 11, 2024 09:30 | News

A snap curfew imposed on Alice Springs has worked, the city’s mayor says, but has called for longer-term solutions to address issues in the community.

Renewed clashes in Alice Springs threatened to extend a three-day, snap curfew that was imposed, with police arresting five people on Wednesday following a feud in the town’s centre.

A decision was set to be made on Thursday on whether to extend the curfew, which barred  access to the CBD from 10pm to 6am unless people had a valid reason to be there.

Alice Springs mayor Matt Paterson said a decision on the curfew’s future was yet to be made, but indicated it had been working in reducing incidents.

“It’s obviously worked in the CBD, but we are hearing that it is pushing crime out into the suburbs, so we’ll wait and see what happens,” he told ABC TV on Thursday.

“Ultimately, the community gets to have a breath while there’s extra resources and police in town.”

The mayor said he was still waiting to hear if the extension would be carried out.

Mr Paterson said an extension to a previous curfew imposed in March and April had helped in alleviating community anxiety.

However, he said imposing constant curfews in response to crime was not the permanent solution to issues.

Michael Murphy (left) and Brent Potter
Michael Murphy and Brent Potter will decide on Thursday if the curfew will be extended. (Neve Brissenden/AAP PHOTOS)

“This is 30 years of policy on the run that’s got Alice Springs and central Australia to where we are, and it’s decisions driven out of Canberra and Darwin,”  he said.

“There is a vision for a long-term plan, and I think that that is welcomed. But what we need to do is speed that process up, because there will be no requirement for a long-term plan if these things continue in Alice Springs, because it will drive good residents out of the community.”

Police Minister Brent Potter said the decision to extend the curfew would be made on Thursday morning after he and NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy had reviewed the “most up-to-date” information.

“The police commissioner and I are in regular contact regarding the ongoing curfew in Alice Springs,” Mr Potter said.

Under controversial laws passed on urgency in May, the police commissioner can call a snap curfew but only the police minister can extend it upon the commissioner’s request. 

Mr Murphy said he made the decision to lockdown Alice Springs following a string of “violent incidents” at the weekend.

NT Police confirmed about 5000 people travelled to Alice Springs in recent weeks for school holidays, the Alice Springs Show and NAIDOC week.

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