The Northern Territory Government wants us to believe that youth crime across the Territory is out of control, and yet the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows us that youth crime in the Territory is down by 9%.

The Government also wants us to believe that the best way to address this is to make it incredibly difficult for children to get bail, minimise their access to diversion programs, increase police powers to target and arrest them and implement electronic monitoring bracelets.

Should this Bill go ahead, it will wind back the progress in addressing recommendations from the Royal Commission into Youth Detention, it will funnel children into the vicious cycle of the criminal justice system, and it will disproportionately target and affect Indigenous children. Every single child locked up in the Territory is Indigenous, and that number will continue to rise if this Bill becomes law.

We know that people don’t want to see youth crime, but locking kids up and throwing away the key is a band-aid at best, and a death sentence at worst. Prison is no place for a child.