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11 December, 2020

Residents demand action

TRINITY Beach residents are demanding action to solve the suburb’s youth crime problem which is so bad it has left them too afraid to speak publicly for fear of retaliation.

By Nicole Gibson

Councillor Brett Olds

Alarming numbers of parents are refusing to let their children visit Coastwatchers Skate Park and businesses are shelling out tens of thousands to repair damage due to ongoing attacks.

Cairns Local News spoke to four residents - none of which wanted to be identified.

The general consensus was groups of youths, who have taken up residence at the skate park, were responsible for the problem with bullying, fights, thefts and attempted break ins an everyday occurrence.

One mother said she was intimidated by youths after a fight broke out when she visited the park with her young children recently.

“My son was too scared to keep playing because he was scared they were going to hurt him,” she said.

“So we said we’ll go because we haven’t been down there for six months because of the same reason.

“As we were walking away one of the kids on their scooter went into the bowl and jumped out of the bowl and almost knocked my shin and landed right in front of me and just glared at me.”

The residents who spoke to Cairns Local News said they thought Cairns Regional Council’s Division 9 Councillor Brett Olds was doing a good job to effect action on the issue at that level.

Councillor Olds said while part of the solution rested with families, youth justice reform was needed.

“There’s got to be crime and punishment, there’s got to be an action and a punishment and we just don’t have it,” he said.

“Our police do a good job especially at the Cairns Northern Beaches but when they take it to the Magistrate it’s a revolving door.

“The State made the promise before the election of 150 extra police officers up here.

“Even if they get them it’s not going to fix the problem, they need a complete overhaul of the Youth Justice Act.”

Cairns Local News contacted Minister Crawford to find out when the Palaszczuk Government’s pre-election promise of 150 new police officers and policing infrastructure would commence.

The Minister said the allocation of resources was a matter for the Police Commissioner.

“I take issues of crime in our community seriously and continue to advocate on behalf of local residents and businesses to ensure our regions gets the police resources it needs.

  “While the allocation of resources is an operational matter for the Police Commissioner, as she has previously said, this will include a minimum of 150 extra police officers to be deployed to each policing region, including Cairns.”

Crime and Justice Action Group spokesperson Aaron McLeod also weighed in on the issue saying the culture of fear these situations created had hidden costs that were not being accounted for.

“The current system has created an underbelly of anxiety and depression within the community.”

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READ MORE> Cr Olds calls for action by Craig Crawford


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