Queensland councils have released a locally-based action plan to address juvenile crime in their communities.
The action plan, containing what are designed to be concrete, community-driven solutions to address law and order issues, was released at the LGAQ Annual Conference in Gladstone last week.
“Many Queensland communities are feeling the inmpact of juvenile crime,” the plan states.
“Councils are calling for immediate action and partnership with the state government to ensure our state’s unrivalled reputation as a safe place to live, work and visit is preserved.”
The plan calls for an audit of all existing place-based youth justice programs, the establishment of a collaborative taskforce and a seat at the table for local government to inform engagement strategies.
It also highlights examples of successful council initiatives to combat crime in hotspots like Cairns, Palm Island, Townsville and Toowoomba.
LGAQ president Mark Jamieson said while law and order was ultimately a matter for the state, councils remained focused on coming up with locally-led initiatives in partnership with the state government and Queensland police.
“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, Cr Jamieson said.
Mayors say they’ve already seen benefits from local responses.
Palm Island Aborginal Shire Council has introduced a community night patrol, while Cairns is piloting a community safety plan.
The outback shire of Balonne is driving reform via a partnership with Education Queensland
“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,” Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Mayor Mislam Sam said.
Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said collaboration was key in addressing the issue.
“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.
Cr Jamieson stressed that local government needs adequate resourcing to address the issues properly.
“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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