The barbecue area on the riverfront.
The barbecue area on the riverfront. CHRIS ISON CI

Riverside Park should be shared

THE riverfront battleground is heating up between families and police and park people.

Earlier this week nothing was going to stop one family from having a barbecue on Rockhampton’s riverbank.

And that includes the group of park people who came and positioned themselves nearby.

Many were drinking alcohol, with some heavily intoxicated.

But the family stood their ground, called police who quickly arrived, and carried on with their barbecue.

Not long afterwards a member of the park community came to The Morning Bulletin to air his concerns.

He didn’t want to be identified, but said he was speaking on behalf of members of the group who spent much of their time on the riverbank.

The man said the group was fed up with being harassed by police and constantly moved on.

“They’re treating us like dogs,” the man, 50, said.

“We’re angry because they’ve got it in for us.

“The police are hounding us.

“It’s getting worse ... it’s been getting worse for some time now.”

He recognised group members drank alcohol along the riverbank, but said they were doing no harm.

“There are a lot of us, a mob of us, and we feel we’re part of the community,” the man said.

“We’re not being destructive, angry towards anyone or doing anything silly.

“The police say it’s the law that we can’t do what we’re doing in a public area.

“We go into the bushes and they still hound us.

“The system is ridiculous.”

A spokesman for the Queensland Police Service said police needed to act when an offence was committed.

“You can’t drink in a public place and you can’t be drunk in a public place,” the spokesman said.

“When behaviour is outside what the community expects we need to act.”

And it appears things are going to change even more in the future with Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten late last year promising to hold a summit of key ministers to work out how to deal with the increasing numbers of public disorder incidents.

Many of these relate to incidents along the riverbank.



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