1 September, 2022
Kuranda man pleads for help
A KURANDA man is pleading for authorities to act amidst claims he has been the subject of a series of racially-charged attacks and inaction on anti-social behaviour near Centenary Park.
Mark Riley says he is sick and tired of the public drunkenness, alcohol and drug induced abuse, domestic violence (publicly displayed), violent rioting and fighting, break and enters, wilful damage to both private and publicly owned properties and possessions, and general anti-social behaviour for the last 10 plus years in and around Centenary Park and Coondoo Street.
He says that despite many years of phone calls to the police regarding the anti-social behaviour that “occurs almost on a daily/nightly basis”, little seems to being done to address the issue.
The most recent incident occurred earlier this month and allegedly involved racial abuse, threats to kill him and his dog, and missiles in the form of pavers and stones thrown at himself, his housemate, his dog and his home.
He says he was awakened by loud noises coming from outside and when he went to investigate, the abuse was directed at him.
“This went on for quite some time whilst they destroyed parts of my garden and picked up pavers and chunks of concrete off the footpath and pried boulders out of the garden rock wall next door and proceeded to throw them at us, no doubt aiming for myself and the dog,” Mr Riley said.
“One large piece of concrete landed on the roof and has almost ripped the gutter off which will need to be repaired.”
He says he called 000 around 2am and when police did arrive, he claims they treated him “like a criminal”.
“Four times one of the attending officers asked me if I’d hit one of them. Four times I had to deny this allegation. Why do the Kuranda Police treat me like I’m the criminal every time they are called to attend my residence?”
Mr Riley wrote in an email to police and Mareeba Shire Councillors. Later that day, around 7.30am, Mr Riley said four men returned to his house and again started abusing him and threatening to burn his house down.
“At 8.23am I rang 000. The operator apologised as it took her trying three different numbers, presumably at Kuranda Police Station, before someone answered the phone,” he said.
“In my experience this is not unusual. Often nobody answers regardless of the time of day, and you’re asked to leave a message.”
Frustrated with the situation, Mr Riley has written to Mareeba Shire, police, Queensland Government Ministers and the media in a desperate bid to get help.
“It has reached the point where neither I nor my housemates feel safe in our own home, nor do we venture out of the house after dark anymore due to a certain minority of the local Indigenous community,” he wrote.
“The ongoing antisocial behaviour in and around Centenary Park and unprovoked racially motivated personal attacks on me in my own home and around Kuranda Central Business District have been allowed to fester due to the inherent failures of the Kuranda Police, Mareeba Shire Council and local indigenous bodies to come together to find workable solutions to this issue or even acknowledge publicly that there is a problem.
“There is an issue, and it needs to be addressed before the situation escalates even further out of control and someone is seriously hurt or killed.”
Mr Riley has called on Mareeba Shire to repair the footpath near his home and ensure pavers cannot be lifted out and be used as missiles.
He also wants more CCTV cameras in the Kuranda CBD, increased security lighting around Centenary Park and installation of security cameras to improve public safety.
He also says there has been inaction regarding public drunkenness and antisocial behaviour in Centenary Park over years by Kuranda Police since 24-hour station was “de-commissioned”, a lack of regular 24-hour police patrols or presence in the Kuranda CBD and claims Kuranda Police are undermanned and under-resourced.
Queensland Police Acting Inspector Kyell Palmer rejects any suggestion that police lack the capacity to respond to incidents in Kuranda.
“The Queensland Police Service has the capacity to attend incidents in the Kuranda Division on a 24-hour basis,” he said.
“Additional staff can be drawn from other surrounding divisions in-line with the Priority Policing Model, when required.
“Officers from the division undertake a range of proactive strategies to prevent Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour not only in and around Kuranda but across the Tablelands.
“I can confirm that an incident arising from August 7, 2022, is currently being investigated by Kuranda Police. “As the incident is currently under investigation, unfortunately no further comment will be made.”