Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

End A[euro][approximately]us and Them' Situation: Gulaptis

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

End A[euro][approximately]us and Them' Situation: Gulaptis

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DEEFHOLTS terry.deefholts@dailyexaminer.com.au

EIGHT to 10 juvenile offenders, mostly residing in Ngaru Village, are holding the town of Yamba to ransom on the issue of crime, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said yesterday.

Mr Gulaptis said police had informed him that the removal of these career criminals from the system would not only scuttle the need for a 24-hour police station in Yamba, but would help stop younger residents being led astray.

But Mr Gulaptis said he was well aware that the justice system alone could not fix the much larger social problems at the village including substance abuse, truancy, unemployment and poverty.

He said he had met with State Attorney-General Greg Smith and had arranged meetings with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Victor Dominello to discuss program options for Ngaru Village and there had been some exciting suggestions and the prospect of funding.

Plans to demolish up to three auninhabitablea homes needed to be coupled with a better management system, Mr Gulaptis said, because clearly the current system was not working.

He called for a system which was more interactive with the broader community to overcome the aus and them situationa.

Education, mentorship and employment would need to be three pillars of change if any so-called ainterventiona was to be effective, he said.

He said he was reluctant to use the term intervention because it was a loaded word.

Asked why previous programs had failed the village, Mr Gulaptis said such programs had amissed their target audiencea of children before they were led astray by their older peers.

Birrigan Gargle Land Council chief executive Norma Collins refused to comment when contacted by The Examiner but said she would be attending Monday's crisis meeting convened by Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson. …

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