KAP State Leader and member for Traeger Robbie Katter has called for urgent government intervention following the escalation of violent assaults occurring in Mount Isa, fuelled by Northern Territory itinerants.
“The levels of crime in Mount Isa have become very acute, very quickly,’’ he said.
“We see a pattern of spikes in violent crimes and robberies aligning with a sudden influx of itinerants into Mount Isa from the Northern Territory.
“In the past two weeks we have seen 92-year-old woman bashed and robbed in her own home, a 35-year-old man was allegedly bashed by three teenagers and who ended up in the intensive care unit in Townsville and we have also seen a woman allegedly bashed by three teenagers after they robbed her store.
“Mount Isa is becoming the sink hole for problems in this region and most of the problems are alcohol related.
Police statistics show the numbers of assaults have jumped from 833 in 2015 to 1087 in 2017 while unlawful entry – such as home invasions – has exploded from 364 in 2015 to 679.
Figures also show non-sexual offences against the person have increased by 20 per cent in the past ten years in Mount Isa.
“Our police have just launched a special operation to deal with this problem,’’ Mr Katter said.
“They will be patrolling roads leading into Mount Isa and will be sorting out the trouble makers and encouraging them to turn back home if they are planning to cause trouble.
“It’s a credit to our local police that they are engaging with this problem but our region needs more resources.
“The itinerants don’t just breeze through Mount Isa. They will often stay for several months because they have no money left to return home. This results in overcrowding in homes in Mount Isa and people putting up tents in the riverbed, all of which puts a huge strain on the Department of Housing and other resources in the town.
“The people who have had their homes overrun by the visitors are too scared to kick their relatives out creating an inevitable situation of overcrowding which leads to arguments and domestic violence issues.
Sergeant Chris Mitchell of Mount Isa said police launched a special operation on May 1.
“While we welcome visitors to Mount Isa, police will running an operation to monitor the roads leading to Mount Isa from the Northern Territory and ensuring visitors have the means to support themselves during their stay and the means to get themselves back home,’’ he said.
“A sudden influx of people into Mount Isa does place a strain on government resources. An extra two police officers from the Public Safety Response Team from Brisbane will be joining Mount Isa police to provide support during the operation.
“We will be working with our partner agencies to ensure everyone’s safety during the event season in Mount Isa and urge those visiting Mount Isa to respect their country when they travel.’’
He said police were also spreading the message of responsible alcohol supply by traders in Mount Isa.