An initiative to address youth crime in Mount Isa is already paying off, with a new 24/7 hub connecting at-risk youth with support and services and helping drive down youth crime rates.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said the Mount Isa Transitional Hub was off to a flying start after opening its doors last month.
“It’s clear this service is tapping into the needs of the Mount Isa community, with more than 50 young people going through the hub each week,” she said.
“It means they are being diverted from crime and instead are taking part in activities including movie nights, board games, art and craft, days at the lake with cricket and touch football.
“Young people now have a safe place to go instead of being left to wander the streets unsupervised, which is really positive.
“Many of these young people are wandering the streets and getting into trouble because they don’t have safe homes to go to, or other supports that the average young person would usually have.
“Crucially, the services are available at nights on and on weekends.
“We know these are the times when young people are often most at risk of getting into trouble and coming to harm, and the service is playing an important role in supporting young people who are on the streets at night.”
Ms Farmer said the whole community was getting involved and helping to make the Hub a real success.
“We have said from the outset that tackling youth crime needs a whole-of-community approach and so it is great to hear local businesses are getting involved donating food to the hub,” she said.
“We are also seeing businesses contacting the hub instead of police when they see young people loitering around.”
Father Mick Lowcock from the North West Queensland Indigenous Catholic Social Services said the hub was already playing an important role in helping at-risk young people.
“Its after-hours service especially complements the services our organisation, Community Connect, and others already provide,” Father Mick said.
“It provides a positive place for young people to go to.”
Ms Farmer said the hub was staffed by all Indigenous people from prominent local families.
“Indigenous young people are overrepresented in our youth justice system, so it’s central to our approach that the Hub is staffed by adults that young people look up to and respect,” she said.
The $800,000 in funding to run the hub this financial year is part of a $332.5 million youth justice reforms investment package aimed at keeping Queensland communities safe while steering at-risk young people away from crime.
Ms Farmer said extra support for the Mount Isa Family Wellbeing Services would see funding of $480,000 over two years to employ extra case workers to work intensively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and support them to be able to better support their children.