Furious residents who live around a park where a 12-year-old boy died said the community had been abandoned by service providers in the lead-up to the incident.
Furious residents who live around a park where a 12-year-old boy died said the community had been abandoned by service providers in the lead-up to the incident.

Angry residents claim lack of support before boy’s death

FURIOUS Mooroobool residents who live around a park where a boy died said the community had been abandoned by service providers in the lead-up to the incident.

The Mooroobool Hub, formerly known as the Cultural and Community Wellbeing Centre, overlooks Shang Park where the boy died and previously housed branches of multiple government agencies to support the community.

A 12 year old boy died on Thursday evening in Shang Park after being involved in an altercation with other youths. Esmay Cedric, Margie Buie, Nyamie Cedric, Glenice Underwood and Myla Cedric came together in the park to grieve. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A 12 year old boy died on Thursday evening in Shang Park after being involved in an altercation with other youths. Esmay Cedric, Margie Buie, Nyamie Cedric, Glenice Underwood and Myla Cedric came together in the park to grieve. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

It was forced to close its doors during the COVID-19 crisis, but a former program co-ordinator Nyamie Cedric said services were withdrawing well before that, leaving the area's youth with nothing to do and no support.

"These kids are not being seen," he said.

The hub was reopened in 2013 on the back of the shocking Smallbone Report which highlighted systematic youth sexual violence and abuse in Cairns' western suburbs and Aurukun.

Multi-agency platform Cairns Safer Streets, a taskforce headed by police, took over running the hub in 2014, often running park activities for children and earning a visit from former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce.

Cairns Regional Council has installed CCTV cameras in the park. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Cairns Regional Council has installed CCTV cameras in the park. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

It was passed on to other non-profit organisations in the coming years.

Mr Cedric said it was a tragic day for the area and they don't want "another Manoora" happening, referring to the tragic murder of eight children in December 2014.

"It's going to be rough for both (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) people," he said.

"We want to pay our respects culturally and appropriately to the (boy's) family because this could have happened to any other child.

The Mooroobool Hub opposite Shang Park has been closed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Mooroobool Hub opposite Shang Park has been closed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"We are all hurting and we just want to give our condolences to the family and the Torres Strait Islander community."

Far North police Detective Acting Inspector Jason Smith said police liaison officers and other support agencies were supporting the community.

"Not just here but throughout the Torres Strait communities where this boy is from," he said.

It is understood the victim and his family had previously been living at the ill-fated Plaza Palms until recently being relocated to Mooroobool.

Originally published as Angry residents claim lack of support for suburb before boy's death



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