Robert Schwarten supports Will Cordwell’s call for magistrates to ban repeat offenders from wearing hoodies.
Robert Schwarten supports Will Cordwell’s call for magistrates to ban repeat offenders from wearing hoodies. Sharyn Oneill Rokshood

MP lays blame on one group

THE Rockhampton community should be afforded the opportunity to cast an eye over the performance of organisations dealing with indigenous youth who commit crimes, MP Robert Schwarten says.

Mr Schwarten believes a group of fewer than 30 indigenous youths are at the heart of Rockhampton's juvenile crime problem.

On Friday, the Bulletin reported the Member for Rockhampton stating he supported local businessman Will Cordwell's call for magistrates to have the power to ban repeat offenders from wearing hoodies and concealing their identity.

Yesterday, Mr Schwarten said the $4.3m allocated in this year's State Budget towards groups such as Milbi and Darumbal Community Youth Service for issues including indigenous youth justice and support was “colossal”.

He said these organisations had an obligation to be more transparent and inform the community of the measures they were taking to address the “indigenous crime problem”.

“It's just scandalous that such a small number of kids are holding the community to ransom. It is an indigenous crime problem. It is wholly and solely 99% Aboriginal youth causing the problems.”

He suggested the formation of a community board including indigenous elders, police, magistrates and business leaders where the groups dealing with indigenous youth could report on progress.

“We should be afforded the opportunity to cast an eye over their performance,” he said.

He said an “enormous” amount of money had been thrown at the problem but it was not working.

Milbi chief executive Lloyd Willie said while he was happy to meet with Mr Schwarten, the MP was mistaken.

Mr Willie said his group and others were bound by state legislation including the Child Protection Act which meant they could not disclose information about the youths they dealt with.

“We could do with another $100,000 and really make an impact on the reduction of the over-representation of Aboriginal youth in the justice system.”



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