Katter blames NT for crime worries

YOUNG GUNS: Constable Fraser Hutson and Constable Jon Conley work as investigators at the Mount Isa Criminal Investigations Branch. Picture: Kelly Butterworth.
YOUNG GUNS: Constable Fraser Hutson and Constable Jon Conley work as investigators at the Mount Isa Criminal Investigations Branch. Picture: Kelly Butterworth.

A Queensland MP is blaming the NT for an apparent crime spike in Mount Isa.

Katherine Mayor Fay Miller has also blamed new grog restrictions in Tennant Creek for causing some of the new problems in the Qld city.

Mayor Miller is scheduled to meet with senior police today to discuss a rise in public drunkenness in Katherine, which council has blamed on new Tennant Creek grog laws.

In Mount Isa, Robbie Katter has also made a plea for the state government to intervene in an apparent crime spike.

The Member for Traeger said there had been an escalation of violent assaults in Mount Isa and is blaming “itinerants” from the Northern Territory, but local police say that is not the case. 

“The levels of crime in Mount Isa have become very acute, very quickly,’’ Mr Katter said.

“We see a pattern of spikes in violent crimes and robberies aligning with a sudden influx of itinerants into Mount Isa from the Northern Territory.

“Mount Isa is becoming the sink hole for problems in this region and most of the problems are alcohol related.”

Mr Katter pointed to a series of violent assaults which allegedly occurred in the region this month.

“We have seen 92-year-old woman bashed and robbed in her own home, a 35-year-old man was allegedly bashed by three teenagers and who ended up in the intensive care unit in Townsville and we have also seen a woman allegedly bashed by three teenagers after they robbed her store,” he said.

But Mount Isa police say differently, and said the volume of visitors from the NT was not uncommon. 

“We have noticed an increased volume of people in town but criminally speaking that has not been an issue,” Mount Isa Criminal Investigations Branch Officer in Charge Dave Barron said.

He said it is normal to see more people from the NT in town at this time of year. 

“Our weekly priorities have not changed,” Det Sen Sgt Barron said.

Det Sen Sgt Barron said it would be “inaccurate to attribute all serious and violent crime in Mount Isa to people coming from the NT”. 

He said the alleged violent assaults which have occurred in town in the past month were all committed by Mount Isa residents – not NT itinerants. 

Mount Isa police launched a special operation at the start of May, to “prepare and accommodate for the significant influx of persons from around the country”.

The operation, which runs every year, focuses on traffic enforcement, public drinking, anti-social behaviour and overcrowding within governmental housing.

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