Bronwyn Murray, from Cherbourg's Family Action Group, said the community must pull together to have any hope of controlling wayward teenagers.
Bronwyn Murray, from Cherbourg's Family Action Group, said the community must pull together to have any hope of controlling wayward teenagers. Michael Nolan

Cherbourg familes look at new ways to stop crime

BRINGING young offenders and their parents before the Murri Court is one measure a group of concerned Cherbourg residents have suggested as a means to reduce the rates of crime in the Burnett.

Bronwyn Murray is one of the founders of Cherbourg's Family Action Group.

It was set up in March with the aim of bringing the community and government services together to address issues around crime, child safety, domestic violence and drug abuse.

"The focus of the group is to be the voice of the community," Mrs Murray said.

"It's a channel for those voice to be heard."

The members prepared briefs outlining the sort of help the community needed to improve family life in Cherbourg.

The escalating rates of car theft have become a keen focus for the group and Mrs Murray said the community was angry about the level of crime.

"We are so angry and frustrated, the community doesn't understand why certain measures haven't been taken, like why haven't these kids been called down to appear in front of our elders?" she said.

"We believe as a group that the children and their parents should be called down in front of our elders, our council and our police to have that discipline at a community level."

Mrs Murray said the group contacted Queensland's Attorney General in the hopes of moving Cherbourg youth held in detention into a cultural boot camp program.

"While they're in the boot camp they're going to learn rules, regulations and boundaries," she said.

Another suggestion is to build a youth centre to give young people a safe place to have fun.

"It you talk to youth around the community, every child will say they are bored and there is nothing do, especially on weekends," Mrs Murray said.

"We have a lot of the hands-off parents who won't interact with their children and take them places, you've got a lot of families in the community who do that stuff and they end up looking after 30 kids."

Mrs Murray recognised the role of the Department of Child Safety but she said it needed a new approach.

 

"But I can really see that the department can be of assistance to some of these families," she said.

The department has access to counselling services, a referral network and housing options for teens at risk.

"The children want to be heard, to offload their baggage so they have a better chance in life, because the way they are going, they're going to end up dead on the street," she said.