27 October, 2022
Shire wins support for youth centres
MAREEBA Shire Council has had a win in the fight against youth crime, with councils across the State supporting two motions put forward at last week’s Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference.
Council put up two motions – that the State Government fund Queensland police to install, maintain and operate CCTV in communities, and that diversionary facilities by established on remote State-owned properties for wayward youth.
Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin is understandably thrilled to get the majority support of the 77 councils who attended the conference.
“I am delighted that Mayors across Queensland supported the motion. This evidences that the issue of crime is not isolated to the Mareeba Shire, but communities across the State are suffering the impacts,” she said.
“These facilities should not be seen as places of punishment but rather places where young people, who have often missed out of opportunities because of the environment they are in, could develop the necessary skills to succeed in life.
“I acknowledge that not all young offenders would suit being sent to a remote facility for training, and I think hardened criminals who did not want to change should still be incarcerated in detention facilities.
“As a school principal, I was privileged to witness situations where a young person starts to go the wrong way, then someone takes an interest in them, and they can turn that around.
“The motion is a first step by our council to try and make a change that will allow these young people a chance to learn skills so that when they are re-leased, they can pursue employment and become good members of our community.”
KAP Leader Robbie Katter said the support by the State’s councils was indicative of the harrowing impact youth crime was having across Queensland communities.
“The ball is now in the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s court – let’s make this happen,” he said.
“If we could have an immediate trial funded, this pilot could be used to refine the program and ensure it is fit for purpose for both the community and the offenders’ sake.”
Member for Hill Shane Knuth was also full of praise for the council’s move.
“The passing of this motion reflects the frustration and desperate need for something further to be done to com-bat the increasing rates of juvenile crime,” he said.
Mareeba Shire was also celebrating getting its second motion regarding CCTV across the line, with Mayor Toppin stressing how important CCTV was in the fight against crime.
“We know that CCTV video monitoring systems systems are needed in the Mareeba CBD and we will continue to support the Queensland Police and advocate on their behalf,” she said.