Editorial: Election issues Part 2 – looking at youth crime

In my last editorial, I spoke about two of the most important issues affecting the north west in the upcoming Queensland election: jobs and the cost of flights.

In this one, I want to turn the spotlight on another issue dogging our community – crime and in particular youth crime.

Youth crime is an issue that has bedeviled Mount Isa in particular for a number of years though it is also a problem in Cloncurry.

The underlying causes of youth crime are complex and not easily solved. 

Indeed it is heavily tied in with another major issue, that of unemployment in the region and giving young people, especially Indigenous young people a chance to show they have a future.

Yet it is understandable that people who are the victims of youth crime to have had enough with it, and “Mount Isa has had enough” was the name of a Facebook group on the topic.

Showing that they were looking for solutions and not just a vigilante outfit they changed their name to “Mount Isa's - Working Together For A Greater Future” and have tried to engage police, youth groups, indigenous groups and others to come together and discuss the issue.

Independent candidate Craig Scriven is associated with that group and has a detailed take on the issue which he says has been pussyfooted around for too long.

He says the issue is more than the youth. “They may not have a home to go home to, and they are doing this out of pure need. Their home life may be that substandard that they just don't want to be there, or, they are being lead by family members or friends,” he said.

I agree with Mr Scriven that the LNP proposals to introduce curfews is not the way forward while Robbie Katter’s "relocation sentencing” call to have them banished to detention camps also seems extreme.

Labor have been fairly quiet on the topic other than advocating “safe parks for the elderly”, a noble idea but one which I’m not sure will have much impact on crime.

Mr Scriven’s idea for a cattle station on country has merit and I’m keen to hear the Indigenous perspective of Sarah Isaacs.

However it must be understood this is not just an Indigenous but whole of community problem – Derek Barry