Cairns is the car stealing capital – 767 stolen in 2017 and 38 cars stolen in March 2018
Nearly 100 Cairns region residents fed up with spiralling juvenile crime, unanimously passed a resolution at a meeting in Woree on Saturday instructing the State Government to immediately implement the renowned Petford Farm Rehabilitation Program.
Founder of the program, Geoff Guest OAM, 91, explained to the audience how over 35 years he had successfully transformed more than 3000 troubled youths and adults into a stable lifestyle by offering a holistic solution to substance and alcohol abuse.
He said the transition to normality could not be achieved without incorporating the families of offenders, teaching them proper nutrition and that diet was as important as a loving family environment to break the cycle of anti-social behaviour and re-offending.
“At Petford over the years we taught the kids self-respect and how to respect others and by teaching them horsemanship, fencing, cattle work and tidying up after themselves then cooking at night,” Mr Guest said.
“My late wife Norma made sure there was always a good meal after a day’s work and there was no need to rely on sugar hits from soft drinks or alcohol to keep going.”
Supporting Mr Guest were Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch and State Member for Hill Shane Knuth.
The former Member for Mulgrave Naomi Wilson was present and also backed Mr Guest’s strategy.
Attila Feher-Holan, the founder of the neighbourhood watch group Cairns Knights, chaired the meeting and was scathing of the four local Labor Party state politicians who did not show up.
“The disrespect shown to constituents by the Labor members has not gone unnoticed and I ask if they have any intention at all of stopping the terrible crime wave local people are experiencing,” Mr Feher-Holan said.
“I personally asked Cynthia Lui, Michael Healy, Craig Crawford and Curtis Pitt if they would attend a meeting to help fix this awful problem but only Michael Healy accepted then pulled out after the government discovered he was coming.”
Long-time Petford supporter Professor Ernest Hunter, formerly Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service and Adjunct Professor at James Cook University, explained how the Petford Program had been so successful.
“One can’t work without the other and Geoff Guest incorporated a strict health and diet regime with a remote location and did not rely on any pharmaceutical drugs or more conventional methods of rehabilitation,” Professor Hunter said.
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter told the meeting how he had sought advice from different Aboriginal groups when formulating his Relocation Sentencing policy which allows Magistrates to sentence young offenders to a remote rehabilitation facility instead of going to jail.
“What happens is amateur criminals go to detention or jail and come out as professionals,” Mr Katter said.
“Jail for young offenders is not the answer.”
Mr Guest said he had been asked by Innisfail and Townsville residents to stage further meetings because of the high crime rates in their communities.-contributed