Residents strongly against youth home

ALMOST 500 local residents have thrown their support behind a petition against the establishment of a home for at-risk youth in Bushland Beach, which is set to be tabled in parliament this week.

Started by resident Jennifer Jolly and sponsored by Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, the parliamentary e-petition calls on the House to “find a more appropriate location for this youth home away from the northern beaches of Townsville, in order to prevent any potential disruption to the local community and enable better access to the support services these youth will require”.

Mr Dametto said his office had been inundated with phone calls and emails from residents concerned about the establishment of the home on Anamari Court, which will be rented by Integrated Family and Youth Services (IFYS) over a period of 12 months for youth typically between the ages of 12 to 17-years-old.

“Based on my conversations with residents and IFYS, I’ve formed the strong view that although I’m not against what IFYS is trying to do for at-risk youths, I believe this house is in the wrong location, given its relative isolation from support services closer to Townsville and the potential disruption of a quiet neighbourhood,” Mr Dametto said.

“I have also contacted State Child Safety Minister Di Farmer’s office and expressed my views on the inappropriate location for this youth home. The Minister’s office has asked me to provide feedback on the community’s sentiments towards the youth home going forward, which I have been doing.”

Mr Dametto said he and local residents were not against helping those less fortunate, but it was clear the youth home was far from where it needed to be.

“I want to see these kids turn their lives around as much as anybody else, but the lifestyles of existing residents in this quiet northern beaches suburb need to be considered. The question they are asking is whether it is appropriate to position a house like this in such a street,” Mr Dametto said.

“If I were looking to set up house for at-risk children, I would ensure it would be within walking distance to schools and support services.”

Once tabled in parliament, the petition will be assigned to the relevant Minister who will have 30 days to respond in writing.

To view the petition, click here.

Nick Dametto MP