Friday, 5 September 2008

NT intervention increasing murders

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) is blaming the federal intervention for an increase in the number of murder cases it is defending in the Northern Territory.

NAAJA solicitor Michelle Swift says since March the number of murder and manslaughter cases has increased astronomically.

She says the Intervention measures like dry camps and income management have pushed people from remote communities into Darwin's town camps in search of alcohol.

And she says the conditions are leading to increasing numbers of violent deaths.

"It's a result of urban drift, where people that are trying to access alcohol are coming into Darwin and into the town camps," she said.

"Most of these issues, most of the deaths are related to people who have been under the influence of alcohol when that happened."

Calls for Darwin restrictions
She says once people move away from their families and support networks they are isolated, stressed and more likely to be involved in violence.

"People come into town to drink," she said.

"When they could, there was some managed drinking that was happening in their communities before, but one of the problems with the policies of the intervention is that it hasn't made alcohol in Darwin any harder to access."

She says the problem of alcohol abuse affects the whole community and there should be blanket restrictions on grog sales in Darwin for at least two nights a week.

"It's not only Aboriginal people that have a problem with alcohol," she said.

"The number of road deaths that we've seen shows that alcohol is an issue for the Territory and some reduction or some restriction perhaps during weekdays or certainly for large parts of the weeks certainly would be appropriate for the whole community."


NT intervention failing to curb abuse
The head of one of Australia's peak Aboriginal child protection agencies says the federal intervention has failed to achieve one of its key goals.

Abandon NT intervention: Commissioner
The Northern Territory's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Tony Fitzgerald says the Federal intervention into remote Aboriginal communities should be abandoned and the legislation underpinning it should be repealed.

Police cannot cope with backlash
Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, has warned the Federal Government that many indigenous people displaced by the emergency intervention are creating unrest and straining police capacity.

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