Plea for drastic action on city’s chroming crisis
CAIRNS MP Michael Healy has backed police calls for retailers to remove inhalants from shelves as chroming problems continue to spiral in the city.
Mr Healy labelled the issue a "scourge" and revealed there was crisis planning under way to try to address the problem.
Earlier this week Cairns police called on Woolworths to remove a deodorant brand from its Cairns CBD store on Abbott St on the back of information that about 50 cans were being stolen each week by packs of juveniles.
Health authorities have spoken out about the potentially life threatening consequences of chroming including making the heart unstable.
Mr Healy said he had contacted Youth Justice, police and various non-government agencies and there were talks under way.
"It seems to have spiked in the last couple of months," he said. "I know at the moment it is an issue for retailers.
"There is an ability for retailers to refuse sale of some products to people. My personal view is it's an absolute scourge."
He said he would encourage retailers, including Woolworths, to remove the offending products from the shelves.
"But we've got to come up with ways of getting domestic use without the toxicity in it," he said.
Police alleged the youths are chroming in outer suburbs such as Westcourt and Earlville before coming into town.
Juvenile offenders have been a key focus of a six-month CBD crime blitz.
Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer said ongoing chroming issues in the Far North were "concerning".
"That's why we are establishing the Community Youth Response in Cairns to divert young people away from these kinds of behaviours and get them re-engaged with education and employment," she said.
"There's no quick fix and no single measure that will stop young people chroming.
"The CYR will bring together a range of services including diversionary activities for young people, cultural mentoring programs and flexible schooling arrangements to help young people find a sense of purpose and to get their lives back on track."