Call for forum on racism issue



ROCKHAMPTON resident Peter Savage says racism is alive and well in Central Queensland.

The 57-year-old accused Aboriginal community leader Michael White of having his head in the sand after the former ATSIC representative told The Morning Bulletin he did not believe the city had race problems.

"We are the least employed and least housed in the city ... how can he say there is no racism?'' he said.

"Just walking down the street you can see it ... we can smell it because it gets up our noses ... I think Rocky is an old-habits-diehard kind of place.''

Mr Savage said despite having a university degree he had only been able to find work in areas specifically for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

He called for a community forum in Rockhampton to try and solve the racism issue.

"We need to get this out in the open and talk about it.

"Racism is something that's in our nature but we need to learn to be tolerant.''

His comments came after a group of Rockhampton youths drove in the city on Australia Day firing an air rifle at people of Aboriginal appearence.

Mr White was unable to be contacted yesterday but Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said while racism did exist in Rockhampton the majority of people were understanding.

"Rockhampton hasn't found solutions to the problems the rest of Australia is grappling with,'' she said.

"The vast majority of Rockhampton residents, black or white, will take people on their merits.''

She believed most people would see the Australia Day attacks as an issolated incident.

"I think most people will see it for what it is: A couple of young kids with some growing up to do.



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