From the Mayor's Desk - 28 November 2022

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Cross-border and youth crime update

Last week saw another meeting of the Cross-Border Crime Prevention Committee, held in Boggabilla for the first time.

Regarding youth justice in our cross-border region, it is unfortunately quite clear that, while locking up these offenders is not effectively rehabilitating them or changing their behaviours, it is the only thing granting any temporary relief to our community.

None of the challenges around family intervention, youth supervision or policing are core Council responsibilities - and yet, Council has stepped up to bat for our community as an advocate, and to bring agencies from both sides of the border together.

We have strongly been pushing for more effective programs to try to get this small number of local youth offenders on a pathway towards becoming more responsibly engaged members of the community.

Collaboration is key between agencies, and I’m pleased to report we now have a high level of co-operation from the New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD) Governments. I also must acknowledge the utmost contribution of the NSW Cross Border Commissioner James McTavish in this regard.

The NSW Government has now undertaken to place a full-time project officer in Boggabilla, whose role will be to work with the local community to address underlying causes of youth crime. This role will also ensure accountability from local agencies to make sure that the support and resources invested in that community are reaching the intended families and delivering the desired outcomes.

Meanwhile, QLD authorities have also committed to enhancing the levels of resourcing in Goondiwindi, with the view towards implementing more targeted levels of intervention (including families and schools) to address causes of re-offending. They have also committed to providing a greater level of supervision for repeat offenders once they are released after detention.

Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon, the head of the Youth Justice Taskforce, was also in Goondiwindi along with a range of other senior QLD Government officials to get feedback on our community’s needs regarding youth justice, and to report on their progress to date. I was able to meet with AC Scanlon and her team to relay some of the challenges pertaining to youth crime in our community, and I am pleased to say that AC Scanlon has assured me they are working hard to develop localised solutions, particularly given our unique circumstances as a cross-border community. I wish to thank the AC for taking the time to visit our community and listen to our concerns.

Finally, I’d like to give a huge congratulations to Officer in Charge of Goondiwindi Police Station Senior Sergeant Richard McIntosh, who last week was awarded an Australian Police Medal, the highest possible award bestowed to a police officer. Having served our community for 15 years, Sgt McIntosh has also served across the state in Ipswich, Charleville, Mt Isa, Normanton, Murgon, Mossman and Emerald. He has been instrumental in improving community cohesion, particularly focused on youth and Indigenous groups, and recently, working with NSW police to improve cross-border policing. Congratulations on this extremely well-deserved honour and thank you for your dedication to keeping our community safe.

Community updates

School presentation season is well underway and it’s been my honour to attend several presentation evenings and graduations in the region. It’s been wonderful to see the great results, enthusiasm and pride among our students and their families as they conclude the school year and look forward to the next exciting chapters of their lives – congratulations to all.

I’d also like to congratulate Heart of Australia for another year of specialist healthcare clinics here in Goondiwindi. Council is proud to support this wonderful initiative by Dr Rolf Gomes - you’ll often see the mobile medical truck by the Town Park offering specialist cardiology services and saving regional communities, like ours, more than 3,317,500 kilometres in travel this year alone.

Next, you might notice several Council crews out and about at the moment using the opportunity of drier weather to begin the long list of repairs on recently damaged roads. With a mammoth task ahead, I’d like to give a big shout-out to those teams and thank residents for their patience as our crews go about their critical work.

Finally, it’s great to see harvest well underway at last – we all have everything crossed for our farmers for a sustained period of dry weather ahead so harvest and other agricultural work can race to the finish line.

28th November 2022 at 12:00 AM