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Authorities could extend Alice Springs curfew

The curfew for parts of Alice Springs is due to end at 6am on Thursday. (Alan Porritt/AAP PHOTOS)

By Aaron Bunch in Perth

Residents in an outback town have woken after a second night under a curfew imposed by police after a spike in alcohol-fueled violence.

Northern Territory Police issued the three-night public social disorder declaration on Monday for all residents and visitors for parts of Alice Springs from 10pm to 6am.

It’s the second time the city has been subjected to curfew restrictions this year.

In March, a three-week curfew for people aged under 18 was imposed on the Alice Springs town centre from 6pm to 6am following a series of wild brawls.

The current curfew followed a weekend of violence in the town of about 25,000 that included a brawl involving 80 people, a knife attack on a 42-year-old woman, the robbery of a service station and the assault of four off-duty police officers.

The current lockdown is due to end at 6am on Thursday.

However, on Wednesday night local bottleshops will reopen after being closed since Monday, when the curfew began.

Authorities are yet to decide whether to extend the curfew until later this week or into the weekend.

On Tuesday night, police reported one incident after 10pm in Alice Springs.

A car business in Ciccone, three kilometres from the town centre, was broken into after a group of people rammed the front gate and stole keys to vehicles on site before stealing three cars.

The cars were tracked and later found abandoned at different locations across Alice Springs.

The offenders, who could be charged with breaking the curfew as well as aggravated burglary, are yet to be found.

But police said overall it was a relatively quiet night and compliance with the curfew was high.

Meanwhile, the peak body for Indigenous children and families says a curfew isn’t a sustainable solution for the social issues found in Alice Springs.

Authorities should instead focus on improving the lives of Aboriginal families and children, the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care said following a second night of a curfew in the red centre town.

“Experience from the April curfew showed many families crying out for support,” chief executive Catherine Liddle said on Wednesday.

“A focus on investing in family and children during the early years is an approach that works and can turn the tide for communities like Alice Springs.”

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney has said long-term solutions were needed to address the problems plaguing the town.

She noted that last year the federal government had provided a four-year package of $250 million for central Australia.

NT Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who was previously an Alice Springs deputy mayor, said curfews are temporary measures and don’t solve underlying issues.

She said more needed to be done to improve the town camps, where families live in poverty.

The national secretariat wants community-run child and family hubs to deliver early education and care and links to services and support.

“This would be a game-changer for struggling families,” Ms Liddle said.

“Long-term solutions must include building a truly comprehensive and supportive early childhood education and care system, one that is accessible by all.”

To extend the curfew, NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy will have to seek approval from Police Minister Brett Potter.

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