Local MP calls for harsher legislation to deal with offences
AS COMMUNITY frustration boils over crime in Chinchilla, Callide MP Colin Boyce is pointing the finger at the justice system.
Mr Boyce said the continuous crimesprees hitting local businesses and families was not just an issue for Chinchilla but Queensland as a whole, and if harsher legislation was not put in place criminals would continue to cause havoc in regional areas.
"The legislation in dealing with these people needs to change," Mr Boyce said.
"We as a society cannot continue to have to put up with these feral, anti-social people that continue to offend and do not suffer any recourse for their actions."
"That is why places like Chinchilla are suffering like we are, suffering from an ongoing increase in petty crime, stealing cars, breaking into houses, and wilful damage to public property.
"It's just ratbags getting away with whatever they like, and they know it. They're not stupid, they know the system.
"When these cases come before the magistrate, the magistrate is bound by the law, and the law says we're not going to lock them up in jail, we're not going to take any affirmative action.
"That is why we continue to have these repeat offenders that come before the system, they are just laughing in its face because they know that nothing will happen."
Mr Boyce said local police were doing everything in their power to get offenders off the streets, but the legal system did not back them up.
"The police are doing a fantastic job with the resources they have," he said.
"People believe Chinchilla needs more police … there has been a call for a 24-hour police station for an example.
"You can argue that, and that's a fair point, but having said that we are not addressing the core problem and that is the fact that these people who offend are continually let go."
Mr Boyce said Chinchilla had always been a great town but the demographic of locals had changed in the past 10 years. "Unfortunately, what has happened in past years in regards to the gas boom, we've now got a lot of people who have moved into the district who are itinerant, and of a low socio-economic background," he said.
"They bring their problems with them, their social problems, drugs and violence, disrespect for the law and disrespect for their fellow man," the MP said.
Mr Boyce will attend a town meeting in Chinchilla on Monday, March 2.
He said it was important for the community to attend and listen to a variety of opinions and solutions.
"As someone who contributes to the making of the laws of the land I need to hear what people have to say on the matter, and try to explain it from my point of view," Mr Boyce said.
He said the town meeting was likely to be attended by shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki and Shadow Police Minister Trevor Watts.
Chinchilla police officer-in- charge Andrew Irvine will also attend.