SAFE PLACE: Aunty Jane Smith would like to see a back to Basics drop in centre for Kids to have safe fun in Bundaberg.
SAFE PLACE: Aunty Jane Smith would like to see a back to Basics drop in centre for Kids to have safe fun in Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN091016KIDS1

Cut welfare for parents of troubled youths, says elder

STOPPING welfare payments to parents with out-of-control children is just one measure a Bundaberg elder believes may work in solving the problem of troubled youths in the CBD.

Aunty Jane Smith said placing a curfew on the teenagers, proper discipline and establishing a drop-in centre would go a long way to making sure they stayed off the streets.

Aunty Jane spoke to the NewsMail after reports a gang of children, some as young as 12, attacked cars in the Bundaberg CBD.

She believes the children are running the streets because they "may not want to be at home for one reason or another".

"In my honest opinion a lot of kids aren't happy in (their) home environment and they just don't want to go home," she said.

"Their main place (to hang out) is Hinkler, then McDonald's and when those places kick them out, it's the street."

Last week a woman issued a warning across social media after her partner's car was hit by a log.

"People beware, my partner was driving home from work and went under the little bridge near Hinkler and a bunch of kids threw a massive bit of log onto his windscreen," the post read.

The NewsMail spoke with the driver who confirmed about 9.30pm an "extremely large stick or log" was thrown straight at his windscreen.

"I didn't see how many (children) there was, just that they took off when I reversed back to see and ran off down the track yelling abuse," he said.

The couple reported it to police.

It is understood they were not the only ones targeted that night.


Emma Reid

The incident comes after the NewsMail reported two weeks ago about a group of youths throwing rocks on Targo St late at night.

Aunty Jane said something needed to be done before someone was hurt.

She is calling for children and parents to get back to basics and said a drop-in-centre was needed to help support the children.

"I'm calling to have it (a drop-in centre) returned to Bundaberg - somewhere for the kids to get away, watch movies, play pool, have some food and be safe," she said.

"We all need to go back to basics.

"They have too much time on their hands and the kids these days are growing up too fast."

She said a curfew should be brought into effect so no children were roaming the streets at night.

"If the kids are out maybe fine the parents - they seem to fine them for other things so why not this," she said.

"The children need to be taught no is no and yes is yes.

"The worst thing they took out was smacking; there's a difference to smacking your child for discipline and smacking your child for abuse."

Aunty Jane said she would be happy to sit down and chat to the children to see what was troubling them and to try to work towards a solution to keep everyone safe.

Bundaberg police response to damage reports

Bundaberg police confirmed a report of wilful damage was made on October 6.

District crime prevention co-ordinator Senior Constable Danielle Loftus said it was alleged five youths known to police were involved.

"Investigations into this matter and similar reports are continuing," she said.

"Youth are encouraged to find a worthwhile legal activity that they enjoy, such as sport or music.

"They need to be in a safe environment and not cause any harm to any person or property."

Snr Const Loftus said every situation would be investigated based on the circumstances and when youth were involved they were dealt with under the Youth Justice Act 1992.

IWC offer support

Fellow elder and IWC director and chaplain Aunty Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian said a range of support was available through IWC's culturally responsive programs to support and empower indigenous families and individuals.

The IWC, which delivers health, wellbeing, family and community services across the region, believes the 10-15 year age group is a turning point for many youngsters and providing proactive support for First Nation children and families is vital.

"IWC has a proactive and successful child and family support program which is here for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their parents or carers," Aunty Cheri said.

"You don't need to go through a government or other channel - people can self-refer to this program. Just call 1300 492 492 and ask for Child and Family Support. The program is non-judgmental, inclusive and friendly, and as with all IWC services takes a holistic approach. We work to help resolve the whole-of-person issues being experienced by the child, their parents or carers, and siblings. It can include family counselling."

An initiative designed specifically for indigenous boys and girls aged 10-15 has seen IWC team up with The Waves coaches Antonio Kaufusi, a former NRL player, and Ashley Simpson to deliver a series of skills development sessions.

IWC director Stirling Eggmolesse runs a mens and youth group which is culturally responsive and is driving the initiative.

"These sessions are free, and will be delivered from January to March 2017," he said.

"They will include sporting activities for physical wellbeing, and also focus on nutrition and building self-esteem.

"IWC and these great coaches hope that youngsters who take part in these sessions will see opportunities open up before them, helping them to achieve their potential in all areas of their life."

IWC also is offering a free Drug Education and Parenting Program for parents stressed by adolescent substance abuse, through its Alcohol and Other Drugs program.

The seven-session group program starts on November 2, and is for parents who have concerns about their adolescent's use of alcohol and drugs.

The program is free of charge, confidential and open to parents in the Bundaberg region who wish to learn techniques to improve their relationship with their adolescent and build strong family connections.

"IWC has long recognised that the 10-15 year age group is a key turning point, and for children and families who have lost their Connection to Country and are suffering spiritual malaise it is important that the right kind of support is provided. IWC is here for everyone, with a focus on indigenous peoples, the vulnerable, at-risk and disadvantaged," Aunty Cheri saod.

Aboriginal Chaplaincy support and Healing Circle Work also is offered through the IWC.

"All of our programs and initiatives are developed and delivered in consultation with the community, and we are provided with feedback and guidance from an Advisory Council of Elders from clans and tribes across our regions," Aunty Cheri said.

IWC is non-government, Aboriginal community-controlled and charitable, offering services to all peoples - indigenous and non-indigenous - without barriers.

Nominations for the IWC and Waves Skills Development sessions are open now.

Click here to download the form, or pick one up at the IWC Health & Wellbeing Centre at 184 Barolin St, Bundaberg, or The Waves Sports Club at 1 Miller St, Norville.

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