Industry officials: “Out of control” violence threatens Darwin’s tourism


The tourism industry association in the Top End says violent crime is “out of control” in Darwin and is threatening to tarnish the appeal of the city.

There were four unprovoked attacks on people in Darwin at the weekend.

In one incident, a 20-year-old German woman was punched by a man on the Esplanade.

She was able to escape when he tried to grab her arm.

Earlier this month, a French couple was attacked at a bus stop.

Tourism Top End’s Sylvia Wolf says Darwin is promoted as a laid back, safe place to visit, but attacks on tourists will turn people off.

“I think it’s out of control and it’s time there were some hard decisions taken,” she said.

“We promote down south how safe it is to come here: the people are friendly, it’s laid back.

“It’s laid back alright – you get sloshed from the back and you end up unconscious.

“It’s just got to stop, something’s got to happen.”

She says the local economy could be jeopardised by further incidents.

“We’re spending a lot of money on promoting this place and the international market’s very important to us,” she said.

“It’s very important to our economy.”

She will take her concerns to the Government.

“I mean we have the big problems down on Mitchell Street with the drunks and now it seems to be spreading where they’re getting mugged around the outskirts of the city,” she said.

“So I’m really concerned, as we all are at Tourism Top End, and I plan to talk to our minister.”

The Northern Territory Opposition says the incidents over the weekend are further evidence that crime has escalated.

The Country Liberals Member for Port Darwin, John Elferink, says security cameras are only part of the answer.

“We’d be getting more police onto the streets at night, liquor inspectors into the pubs actually exercising their powers,” he said.

“But moreover, our habitual drunks policy would be targeting those individuals who habitually get drunk in our community and we will be removing them from the community.”

The Acting Chief Minister Delia Lawrie has dismissed concerns that violent crime in Darwin city could threaten the tourism industry.

“I can certainly go on the advice that I’ve been given from police today and the conversation I’ve had with them,” she said.

“These incidents are not the norm.

“They are of course following up on them and to draw a bow that somehow it’s going to affect our tourism is a very, very long bow to draw.