Community & Business

27 September, 2023

Opposition leader hears issues from community

HEALTH, crime, mining and housing were all put under the spotlight last week, with Mareeba locals voicing their concerns during State Opposition Leader David Crisafulli’s visit.

By Ellie Fink

Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin, State Opposition Leader David Crisafulli and Mareeba Chamber of Commerce president Joe Moro at last week's chamber luncheon.
Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin, State Opposition Leader David Crisafulli and Mareeba Chamber of Commerce president Joe Moro at last week's chamber luncheon.

Crime and the Kuranda Range were the two major topics discussed at the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where Mr Crisafulli praised Mareeba Shire Council for their work in the region and their moves to help combat issues such as youth crime. 

Chamber members were given the opportunity to ask questions about the upcoming election and what the Liberal National Party (LNP) have planned for the region.

Major issues also discussed included assisting victims of youth crime, housing, the Kuranda Range Road, tourism and agriculture. 


As youth continue to ‘run rampant’  throughout the region, victims are feeling less and less supported, according to Mareeba Chamber members. 

Rob Fuller and Carolyn Mundt both raised issues surrounding crime in the region, asking what the LNP will do to support those who have been impacted. 

“My concern is that the victims are left to deal with the aftermath of home invasions, and it is usually the older generation who are targeted,” Ms Mundt said.

Mr Fuller also shared the experiences of a family member in the police force who is abused by youth daily.

Promising to play a part in rewriting the Youth Justice Act, Mr Crisafulli was determined to help put the power back in the victim's hand. 

“There was a time when young people ran away from the law, and now they run at it,” he said. 

“At the moment, the Youth Justice Act puts the rights of the offender ahead of the rights of the victim, and you can read the whole tone of it is broken.

“It’s in black and white that detention is a last resort, so if you flip it on its head and say that community safety must be a priority, that ensures you can disconnect that group of people.”

“I am not going to promise things that I can’t deliver, and I do not write cheques I can’t cash … so if I say I am going to do something, I mean it”  – David Crisafulli

Mr Crisafulli also spoke about using early intervention with the next generation to prevent youth crime. Through this, he believes they can target youth who are more likely to offend and stop it at the core. 


With one of the lowest available vacancy rates in Queensland, houses in Mareeba and surrounding Indigenous communities are hosting up to 10 people, according to Mr Crisafulli. 

Councillor Lenore Wyatt asked during the meeting what the LNP’s solution to the ongoing housing crisis is, stressing its impact on the local community and councils.

She told Mr Crisafulli of a family who were refugees seeking safety in the region, but because they had 13 children, it was putting stress on housing and services in the region.

Mr Crisafulli said he had seen first-hand the effects of the housing crisis, particularly on Indigenous communities as well as councils.

He said housing is a fundamental right, and at the core of any good society is the ability for someone to one day own a home.

“My housing plan involves infrastructure delivery and a rewrite of planning schemes to enable that (owning a home) to occur.

“Councils have to be at the forefront of that, and that is non-negotiable, but you can’t keep putting everything on local government and then criticise councils for not releasing land – it just doesn’t work like that.” 


Councillor Kevin Davies stood up at the chamber lunch to address the ongoing issues surrounding infrastructure and maintenance, including the Kuranda Range Road. 

Dubbing the Kuranda Range an “absolute disgrace”, Mr Crisafulli said he wants to help find the solution to the road and has called upon the community to help find ways to do this.

“I don’t want false hope on alignments and construction methodology on that road that will never be delivered to create a political point,” he said.

“We have to get serious about what the future of fixing the Kuranda Range looks like.

“Currently, I have been told of four different alignments for the road … I want a genuine vision document and some money there that says, ‘this is what the community wants’, and then we make a staged approach that has dollars, KPIs for delivery, and benefit-cost ratio, and we chip away.

“I am not going to promise things that I can’t deliver, and I do not write cheques I can’t cash … so if I say I am going to do something, I mean it.”

Inviting the chamber and locals to put their strategies forward, Mr Crisafulli said he was ready to take the next steps forward for a “proper” solution. 


During his opening speech, Mr Crisafulli told the chamber of his vision for the region's agriculture and tourism.

Coming from a farming background, he said he has always had a soft spot for regional and rural farming and has guaranteed a brighter future for all in the industry.

“My vision for Queensland agriculture is one where farmers have the certainty of land security, the tenure that goes with it, the ability to farm the way that they seek,” he said. 

“I want to see water supply guaranteed. I want our state to go back to an era where we were proud to build dams, and you are going to see in the lead-up to the election what that looks like from our side of politics.”

Proud of the lush backdrop of Queensland, Mr Crisafulli sees farming also playing a role in a new era of tourism. 

He hopes the spotlight will shine on more than just Brisbane, especially for the 2032 Olympic Games. 

“I see the natural beauty in parts of Queensland that are yearning for new opportunities,” he said.

“We haven’t been prepared to invest and embark on a new opportunity for tourism, and we have to be honest about that.

“As we approach the 2032 Olympics, I see it as an opportunity for the eyes of the world to look at us and not just Brisbane.” 


Most Popular