Mount Isa Elders have spoken out on the ongoing concerns surrounding youth crime and seek to begin a new program to address underlying issues in the home front.
The WC Originalz Aboriginal Community Corporation (WCACAC) and partnership groups have met with local and state government officials to endorse a culturally driven program to address youth crime rates in Mount Isa.
Senior Elder of the Muntaba Kalkatungu People, Patingo (William Doyle) late last year met with Mayor Joyce McCulloch, Deputy Mayor Phil Barwick and Cr Jean Ferris, seeking partnership to use council owned land to give Elders an opportunity to work intensively with youth and their families.
Mr Doyle said the new culturally driven program would address underlying issues in the home front, and provide their partnership group to work directly with the police, youth justice, child safety and the courts.
"We aim to intervene a lot earlier, especially when kids are seen walking the streets late at night, and returning back to the community after being sent to a detention centre," Mr Doyle said.
"Us Aboriginal Elders are very concerned about the high rates of youth crime in Mount Isa, and know most of these are wider family members that come from all corners of the North West and Gulf region as well as the Northern Territory.
"We've met with Council as well as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and senior Ministers during last year's community cabinet meeting and raised our concerns for a coordinated response and importantly the need for a culturally driven program."
WCACAC enabled one of the key strategies of the Department of Aboriginal and Islander Partnership as implementing economic participation and to secure financial investment to initiate a culturally driven program.
"We now require all levels of government to support us to ensure this is not a once off program, as the issue is so widespread. We need to work intensively with families but also with the police, the courts as well as youth justice and child safety services to stop the cycle of our kids coming in and out of detention, but also put emphasis on families stepping up and addressing some of their issues in the home front," Mr Doyle said.
Mr Doyle said they were afraid a death would happen if they didn't take charge of the issue.
"We see so many bad posts on social media about kids break and entering, and as Elders of this region we want to take charge of the matter and for everyone to help us to make our community great again. It won't be long people start taking matters in to their own hands," Mr Doyle said.
"We've already seen a young person's head nearly clean cut off by a machete last year when a local resident took it upon themselves to secure and protect their property.
"That's why we are working hard to support the city to curb youth crime, and working with local organisations Young People Ahead and other community services who have many decades of success working with our young and family groups," Mr Doyle said.
"Our group is also putting out a petition which we hope can get Mount Isa people to sign and support us, unite and rally behind us, and show the full strength of what happens when a community comes together."
Mr Doyle said he would report back to the community in February, so everyone can see the work they are doing to help kids and the community.
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