State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has called out the State Government for failing to act on crime in Mount Isa, demanding more police be immediately deployed to the region in response to the spiralling crisis.
Mr Katter said Mount Isa residents were living in fear, and that juvenile crime in the outback town was now out of control with police overwhelmed and locals unable to sleep at night.
Mount Isa is already home to among the highest crime rates in the state on a per capita basis.
In the month of October alone, assaults in the Mount Isa region occurred at a rate more than 15 times that of the South Brisbane region. Home invasions occurred at a rate of around three times that of the South Brisbane region. 1
“These calls for more police are only to help to treat the symptoms of the problem in the short-term,” Mr Katter said.
“It stinks that they have announced more police for Townsville and Cairns due to escalation in criminal activity at the same time that the Mount Isa district is understaffed.
“We just had a big visit from the State Government and I was expecting some action soon afterwards in setting up a remote processing facility for juveniles and support of on-country sentencing programs.
“Unfortunately however, all we’ve had instead have been polite nods and a retreat back to Brisbane.”
Mr Katter said he would be this week writing to the Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan to urgently call for the more police for Mount Isa.
He said the Mount Isa police response to this past week’s spike, which included the arrest of four children on 28 charges on Friday, had been commendable.
“Our officers need to be supported now and into the future, and I will make sure the Minister knows the need here for bolstering the ranks of experienced officers appointed to Mount Isa District in future,” Mr Katter said.
“I will also stress to him that if we want any hope of enticing people from the coast to the bush, there needs to be more incentives created for officers to relocate here.”
Mr Katter said the North’s youth crime problem did not start or end with police, and that the Palaszczuk Government was presiding over a failed juvenile justice system.
“We are facing a juvenile crime epidemic in the North, and this is acutely felt in Mount Isa where I would say kids are responsible for around 90 per cent of the problems we currently have,” he said.
Mr Katter said the State Government needed to wake up and accept that the system is broken.
“The revolving door of juvenile justice is doing little but exacerbating the problem and look to real solutions,” he said.
“The KAP has offered some suggestions that have broad scale support in the community including: amending the Blue Cards system which is unfairly robbing some indigenous families of jobs (relegating them to a life of welfare) and
Relocation Sentencing as an alternative to incarceration for juveniles.
“So far these solutions have fallen on deaf ears, and the relevant ministers should be ashamed of themselves that this is happening on their watch.
“This is their time now to prove that they are serious about addressing problems within their portfolio because I doubt there could be any issue more serious than this in the state right now.”