Michael Gunner: We need to make our communities in NT safer

I HAVE lived the complexity of the Northern Territory since I was old enough to listen. I have lived its diversity, from Alice Springs to Darwin.

I have lived its ugliness, beauty and contradiction.

A lifetime in the NT has taught me that little of our history and society can be explained in a few sentences, photos or nights out in Darwin.

Likewise, it has taught me no complex social problems like alcoholism and itinerancy can be solved with the wave of a Chief Minister’s wand.

But I also know we can, step by step, make our communities safer places to live and more profitable places to do business.

As the first phase of a broader homelessness strategy, my government last week announced sweeping measures to address itinerancy and anti-social behaviour.

They include funding a new Darwin and Palmerston day patrol service, funding Mission Australia to expand operations of its sobering-up shelter, improving existing NT-wide services such as the Patient Assistance Travel Scheme and the repatriation of people released from custody, and funding Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation with $1.5 million over five years to provide long-term certainty for the Territory Connect Program, formerly known as Return to Country.

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