Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Angela Toppin reassures residents and visitors that Council will continue to advocate and act within the powers we have as a local government, to improve community safety.
“While crime prevention is not a local government responsibility and an area in which we have no real authority, Mareeba Shire Council has, wherever possible, done what it can to improve community safety and reduce the incidence of crime in our community.”
“The one thing we can do and have been working hard at is advocating for improvements to services and resourcing. In addition, we have been working with our networks to ensure that where possible the community is supported.” Mayor Toppin explained.
Council has written to the Premier to request that the State takes urgent action on the issue of youth crime, anti-social behaviour and vandalism in Mareeba and that the State immediately restores the Queensland Police Service contingent in Mareeba to full strength and, ideally, seconds additional staff to assist.
This was on the back of Council presenting a motion to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) State Conference for LGAQ to lobby for increased action on youth crime. This motion enjoyed the support of the vast majority of Councils in Queensland and the LGAQ will now also be pushing the State Government on this issue.
In addition to actively advocating for change, Council has implemented numerous initiatives to improve community safety in public spaces.
Additional lighting has been installed and public spaces have been reconfigured or upgraded at the Bicentennial Lakes, Anzac Park, Arnold Park and Railway Avenue behind the Mareeba CBD. Graffiti on Council buildings is removed as soon as possible, and Council officers lock public amenities at night to reduce the likelihood of vandalism and anti-social activity.
Council’s Mareeba CBD Community Safety Enhancement Program aims to enhance public safety in Byrnes Street by supporting businesses in identified priority locations with cash contributions to augment existing CCTV systems, to install new CCTV or additional security lighting in public areas. There has been some uptake by the business community, and the program is ongoing.
Council also recognised that seniors in Mareeba were feeling unsafe in their homes and organised an information session at the QCWA where the Police presented information about ways to improve home security. The Police were also engaged for individual home safety audits for concerned tenants, with this service available on an ongoing basis.
“The morning tea was well attended, and a number of residents accepted the offer of the home safety audit by police,” Mayor Toppin said.
“Improving community safety is not a simple task, and Council recognises that the solution lies beyond judicial changes only. This is why Council has funded arts programs, in partnership with community services, for disadvantaged young people. These activities involved an artist working with young people to produce public murals on buildings that have previously been targeted for vandalism and graffiti.”
Council also supports not-for-profit services and community groups working with young people by providing subsidised and affordable premises and facilities.
“This includes the long term and rent-free lease for the PCYC Hall, many sporting clubs and the half basketball court near Ward Street as well as affordable community hire fees for the Sports Hall. Many sporting clubs and community groups receive 100% rate rebates and remissions, and Council provides cash and in-kind donations to community groups holding free events to engage and re-engage young people in community life.”
Mayor Toppin explained, “I am proud to live in Mareeba and I promote our town and Shire as a great place to live, work and invest at every possible opportunity. Councillors and I are urging the State government to intervene, so the incidence of crime is reduced.”