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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Alice Springs wakes to the end of youth curfew

Alice Springs is emerging from a three-week night curfew on its youth, aimed at curbing crime and violence in the outback town.

The outback town of Alice Springs is waking from its last night under a youth curfew.

The orders were imposed on March 27 when the Northern Territory government declared an emergency following escalating violence in the Red Centre town.

Despite warnings from legal experts that the curfew waspossibly illegal, Chief Minister Eva Lawler extended it for six days until 6am Tuesday.

Up to an additional 35 police officers will remain in the town, including 10 from South Australia, and government social workers will continue to support families. 

"(There will be) six staff every night on the streets in Alice Springs, but it is in those partnerships with the NGOs," Ms Lawler said.

The chief minister says social workers will stay on the streets after the curfew has ceased.

"There's a really strong focus on getting every kid in Alice Springs back to school, getting families back out to community so they can get their kids to school as well."

Under the curfew, children aged under 18 were prohibited from entering central Alice Springs between 6pm and 6am.

NT Chamber of Commerce chief operating officer Nicole Walsh said the curfew had been good for businesses but people were still wary. 

"It has certainly been a stop gap ... we do get some feedback it has pushed crime into other places," she said. 

"We know we need a lot of medium to long-term solutions but some things the community is clear on, they want a continuation of community policing, to understand the impact of the curfew and Police Auxiliary License Inspector's to stay on the bottle shops."

Ms Walsh said the business community would like to see some measures kept in place for the next three to six months so longer-term solutions can be tested. 

"The curfew is not a long-term thing ... the central Australian community don't want to be seen as this is what we do to our young people," she said.

The curfew was first imposed after a surge of violence in the town inflamed by the death of an 18-year-old in a car crash in early March.

His death triggered clashes between rival families that culminated in an attack at the Todd Tavern.

Officers made several arrests and seized more than 50 weapons, including spears, axes and clubs.

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