Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 08, 2023


Crime in Port Augusta

The Hon. S.L. GAME (14:27): I seek leave to make a brief explanation prior to addressing a question to the Attorney-General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on crime in Port Augusta.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: Reports of escalating crime and antisocial behaviour in Port Augusta are widespread, with concerns raised by a local business owner and councillor that the town's youth crime will become a similar situation to Alice Springs. Businesses in particular are being targeted and large groups of kids as young as 10 are reported to be loitering around shops and committing low-level crime and causing intimidation to residents.

I understand an outreach program was set up late last year and that a coordinated approach between the Department of Human Services, SAPOL and the Department for Child Protection is being considered to address this. The local member for Giles is reported as saying that more resources and coordination are required in order for residents to feel safe and secure. My questions to the Attorney-General and Aboriginal affairs minister are:

1. Has the Attorney-General met with concerned residents and business owners of Port Augusta to discuss escalating youth crime levels in the town?

2. Has the minister met with Aboriginal leaders in Port Augusta this year to discuss these concerns and, if so, what actions is he taking in response?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:28): I thank the honourable member for her question. I have not met in Port Augusta with community leaders in relation to these issues this year. I certainly did last year and I certainly will be intending to into the future as well, meeting with Aboriginal community leaders in Port Augusta—not just on issues that the honourable member has outlined but a whole range of other issues that community members are interested in.

I am aware that there is a cross-government effort in relation to concerns that are facing Port Augusta—some are seasonal concerns as people move around the state. I am also aware that there are some lasting impacts from the last few years of COVID where people have moved from more remote areas of our state into centres like Port Augusta. I am happy to get further information from, I believe it is, the Department of Human Services, which is coordinating this work, and bring back further information if it can be supplied.