Mar 1, 2023


Mar 1, 2023

The outback town labelled “ground zero” of Queensland’s spiralling youth crime crisis has been ignored and its residents treated like “second class citizens” according to a furious Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter.


As the Queensland Parliament’s Economics and Governance Committee (EGC) embarks on its whirlwind tour to North Queensland to conduct public hearings into Labor’s Strengthening Community Safety Bill 2023, Mr Katter said it was unconscionable that Mount Isa had been left off the list of hearing locations.


He said he had flown to the coast in a bid to participate in the committee process to ensure Mount Isa, and the broader North’s voice, was heard.


“The KAP’s concern is, as always, that this committee process will be a tick and flick exercise for the Government of the day whose MPs control the numbers – they will not be doing that here,” he said.


“The youth crime crisis we are all here discussing has not reared its head overnight, these problems have been brewing for close to a decade now and nowhere has been more exposed than Mount Isa which is even being dubbed Alice Springs 2.0.


“Just last week we celebrated the centenary celebrations of the founding of the city, which has delivered untold wealth and royalties to the State of Queensland over the last 100 years, and yet it has been enabled through government inaction and apathy to be consumed by crime, dysfunction and anti-social behaviour.


“Many of these problems are being imported from the Northern Territory with little efforts made to stem the flow – again, the result of Government ineptitude.


“Everyone in Mount has been a victim of youth crime, or knows someone who has, and yet these Queenslanders are not even provided an opportunity to speak to the MPs who are adjudicating on the worthiness of Labor’s youth justice amendments.”


On a per capita basis, Mount Isa has the highest crime rate in Queensland.


It is a town of around 18,000 people but 788 homes were broken in to and 195 cars stolen in 2022 alone.


Car thefts have more than doubled in four years and break-ins have gone up by almost 50 per cent.


Mr Katter said Mount Isa residents were at breaking point.


KAP Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto implored the EGC to heed the public’s cries for help.


“After hearing initial feedback from lawyers and those who will be responsible for policing Labor’s proposed new laws, I have little faith that these changes will make the slightest of dints in the nightly chaos on our streets from these youth offenders,” he said.


“We can only hope the committee uses its time constructively to listen to community-backed solutions for alternative sentencing and tougher laws, including minimum sentencing.”