Queensland councils are calling for immediate action to urgently address pressing law and order issues within their communities amid the state’s ongoing battle with juvenile crime.
A nine-point Action Plan featuring community-driven solutions to curb youth crime was released by Queensland’s local leaders at the 127th Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Annual Conference in Gladstone today.
Councils from across Queensland combined to back measures including tailored local solutions, diversionary strategies designed to keep young people out of the juvenile justice system, and increased support for victims of crime.
LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said while law and order is a State Government responsibility, councils are focused on putting forward constructive solutions to help address the concerns of their communities.
“Partnering with the State and the Queensland Police Service on locally-led initiatives to target key problems – if funding and resourcing were made available – is high on many councils agendas,” he said.
“As the level of government that is closest to the community, councils are acutely aware of the impacts of youth crime – on victims, business owners and neighbourhoods across Queensland.”
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Geoff McDonald said that Toowoomba had seen positive results from implementing local solutions – but that additional funding support and greater collaboration to tackle the root cause of issues would be welcomed.
“A State Government crime forum held earlier this year in Toowoomba showed the scale of the problem and its impact on victims and our residents,” he said.
In the far north, Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Angela Toppin urged the Government to start thinking outside the box to identify new solutions with the long-term effect of reducing offending.
A motion moved by the Council at the 2022 LGAQ Annual Conference calls for the State to resource and expand the reach of place-based diversionary programs to engage young people and divert them away from the juvenile justice system.
Mayor Toppin said that Council was also working to find collaborative solutions to their community’s ongoing issues with youth crime.
“The 'Mareeba Collaborating for Community Safety' network is focussed on improving co-ordination between agencies, pooling resources to fill gaps, especially for night-time diversionary programs,” she said.
Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Mayor Mislam Sam said the success his community had found with a community night patrol driven by residents in reducing property crime showed that greater community control works.
“We as a community have been calling for greater support for grassroots solutions like these – it’s the only way to address the root cause of some of these issues our young people are facing, he said.”
The nine-point Action Plan spotlights examples of successful local and place-based initiatives supported by councils to combat crime – however Mayor Jamieson stressed that councils needed additional resources.
“We know that no other level of government understands their community like councils,” he said.
“However local crime fighting initiatives and strategies need to be well-resourced and deployed in partnership with police.”
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