Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland
    The Honourable Coralee O'Rourke

    New after-hours drop-in centre helps keep youth off the streets

    Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland
    The Honourable Coralee O'Rourke

    Friday, March 17, 2017

    New after-hours drop-in centre helps keep youth off the streets

    Efforts to reduce youth crime and the number of kids wandering the streets after dark in Townsville has been boosted with the opening of the city’s first after-hours drop-in centre for kids.

    Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had dedicated $482,000 to the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service (TAIHS) to operate the pilot service in Garbutt from 4pm to 10am on weekdays, and 6pm to 10am on weekends.

    “Police in Townsville estimate there are upwards of 30 kids walking the streets most nights, and clearly some of these are using the cover of darkness to break into homes, businesses and cars,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

    “The message from the police, the Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group and youth support groups across the city is that a safe after-hours place is a priority.

    “Importantly, TAIHS will also operate an outreach service to encourage 10 to 16 year olds to come off the street and stay overnight at the centre if they are unwilling or unable to go home.

    “A child’s home should be the safest place for them, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case,” she said.

    “For some, being on the street is an escape from alcohol and drug use in the home, domestic violence, or the impact of mental illness in their family.

    “Regrettably, there are also kids on the street who are homeless, have substance abuse or mental health problems themselves.

    “We hope that by staying at the drop-in centre, these kids will stay out of trouble and find support to get back on the right track.”

    Mrs O’Rourke said the drop-in centre had beds for eight young people, and would provide food, activities, and transport to school and the family home.

    “The centre will also help children connect with case managers, counselling, a psychologist, and a family well-being service,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

    “Together, the initiatives in the plan provide a comprehensive 24-hours a day approach to reducing juvenile crime.”

    Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service (TAIHS) chair Professor Jacinta Elston said trained youth workers will be on hand to supervise the children throughout the night.

    “As a community organisation, we at TAIHS believe we have a responsibility to act,” said Professor Elston.

    “We’re committed to working with young people, their families, other stakeholders and the wider community to address the issue of youth safety and crime in Townsville.”

    The drop-in centre forms part of the Palaszczuk Government’s five-point plan to reduce youth crime in Townsville, announced in September 2016.

    Media Contact:                                  Minister O’Rourke’s office                  3719 7170