MP's proposal to relocate problem crime families a fail
A TOWNSVILLE MP's proposal to resurrect a program that relocates recidivist offenders and their families out of the city has been rubbished, with the plan spectacularly backfiring the last time it was implemented.
In response to a recent surge in crime, Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper on Friday said it was time for government agencies to relocate a small cohort of problematic families out of Townsville because the community had had an "absolute gutful".
He claimed the Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group had done this before and with success.
In November 2016 the Townsville Bulletin reported that TSCAG would be facilitating the move of two families "south", including a family with two children in Cleveland Youth Detention Centre, in the hopes the city would get a reprieve from their recidivist offending.
Sources have confirmed this was the only instance of families with recidivist offenders being moved out of town.
The program spectacularly backfired.
Within six to nine months, one of the families had moved back to Townsville and the two children were caught stealing cars not long after.
Asked if he could pinpoint an example where the Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group had successfully relocated a family, Mr Harper said that was a "matter for the action group".
"I would ask you to direct the question to the action group on how they assisted, with success, that family to get more help in another location," he said.
A State Government spokesman did not clarify if there was evidence that relocating a problem family out of town had ever worked, and did not confirm if the Premier supported Mr Harper's proposal, or if prior research had been done before the proposal was made.
"The Townsville community has a right to be safe and a right to feel safe," the spokesman said.
"All three local MPs have been strong advocates in ensuring strong action is being taken in Townsville.
"All options will be explored by relevant ministers as a matter of priority."
Burdekin MP Dale Last said he had witnessed the impact of relocating offenders first-hand, and called Mr Harper's proposal "ludicrous".
"It's been my experience that the relocation of one of these prolific offenders, to the Burdekin late last year, was an absolute failure," he said.
"This kid simply taught local kids the tricks of the trade, crime went up and it was a nightmare for the community.
"A lot of these smaller communities are not resourced to cope with the relocation of juvenile offenders and Aaron Harper's call to move down this pathway is ludicrous."
Mr Last said "simply relocating" offenders was "never going to solve the problem" and the State Government needed to listen to the community and bring in measures that would actually address the problem.