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Community Comments

 

Aaron – Youth Worker

I think free train tickets is a great idea. It is feasible and fair. The government forces them out of town so give them a free ticket. It's a really good idea.

It's not easy to answer how to improve family life and dynamics. I think they should be allowed in town until whatever time they want. It's a public area. If the area is deemed dangerous, make it safer.

There has been programs trialled, like in Adelaide. They put a full curfew in the entertainment district. It affects everyone, not just the juveniles.

Perth police should be targeting the drunks coming out of the clubs, instead of young people who aren't doing anything. Maybe they should increase the recreational activities in the city.

 

 

Bob – Railways Employee (Ex Railway Special Constable)

We need a 24 hour drop in centre but not in the centre of Perth. A bit like a Timezone. The kids come into the city to meet each other, it's good fun and they don't want to go home. They annoy people and intimidate them. The recreation centre should be big and should offer free drinks.

But if you make it for one group of people, there will be at least one lot who will be jealous. Like the Asians. There needs to be more Police and Citizens Youth Clubs on the outskirts of the city. Leave the city for the tourists but don't put the youth centre too far away, maybe somewhere between Midland and Armadale. Not in Cannington because the Carousel will have interjections. Have it near a train station but not ON the train line, otherwise they'll be hanging around the station all the time and it'll turn out to be like Redfern.

They don't have much money, the best gear or a proper family.

Maybe the Lockridge camp site that Bropho was running? What's happened to that now? Turn it into a gathering place or a youth centre.

Free trains will not happen. It's encouraging them to get something for free. They don't even catch the last train. They're not here to catch trains. Your long term goal is to outreach. The short term goal is to look at the councils who have a hall. Find one that isn't being used often and give it to the young people to use once a week. They like stuff like Playstations but they might try and flog the games. DVD nights may be expensive. But you don't need to go up the northern or Fremantle train lines. I know the City of Canning have a huge hall at Queens Park. It's a recreation centre.

Maybe they could play basketball during the early hours of the night. They could play girls V boys but the adults would need to take control.

For the city, they need to have activities that are positive and creative. Like trimming bushes etc.

Westrail tried to get support for free train tickets for the Seniors on a Sunday and it was a lot of hard work. It was a battle. Now if they produce their Seniors Card, it's free for Sundays.

Free train tickets for young people is too easy. It must be earned. It's usually 99% Aboriginals hanging around here once the trains have left. That's about 80 young people or kids who've come from the Carousel that are still here past 12 am.

 

Right now there are about nine Transit Unit Police standing on the concourse. They need more staff. With the Juvenile Justice Act, the young person are left in the office until the parents or guardian can be located. Sometimes they're left in our office for four or five hours. Otherwise they're taken to a hostel. Killara is a transport agency who then take them but some young people jump out of the windows and escape at the first set of traffic lights. I see them come straight back here. For the authority, our responsibility ends when they're taken off our hands.

They get drunk, beg for money… what kind of impression does that leave for our tourists? The government is wrongly giving them money. They should give food and clothes vouchers. Instead of $3,000 when they have a baby, they definitely should be giving out vouchers so they're used for the right purpose.

There is nothing in the city for young people. Some are 12 years old and don't go to school, they don't know their parents. They bullshit to us what their names are, parent's names, it's all a big game to them. We hold them and we can't do anything.

They play cat and mouse with the police. They need to change the mentality. You put them on the trains and they get off at McIver. Every time the kids gets taken home by an agency, the parents or guardian should be charged because they receive endowment for looking after them and they're not doing their job.

Danny - Noongar Mentor

There needs to be more activities in the community like more youth groups in Balga and Rockingham etc. They could be anywhere. They also need more family activities, better school and family education and things to do.

 

But when it comes to having young people hanging around the city, I like to find them a place to stay. I'll take them to JAG (Police Juvenile Aide Group), that's the right thing to do. We need more JAGs to improve the curfew situation, just like everything else, even police.

The police are too aggressive sometimes. They need more youth education and more understanding on what they're about.

Graham - Youth Worker

The only way to get young people to go home or leave the city, is if the police drop them home or they go to another suburb like Fremantle or Joondalup to see what's going on in there. Perhaps also if they're not having a good time or are bored, they have a family commitment or the family has phoned them up to tell them to go home.

 

The city needs more recreational programs every night of the week. My answers are more towards Aboriginal young people and children but these programs need to incorporate an element of skill development.

 

Because a lot of the people are street present, they're not going to school so they should be able to make up for it in an environment they are comfortable in with activities that are not accredited but focuses on life skills.

 

When I mean life skills, they've had more life skills than contemporary adults, so emphasize life skills like employment or staying out or trouble. In some aspects, they've got better life skills than us like social and family networking, better memories and problem solving skills.

 

 

Marge - Street Nurse

It is a difficult problem because young people may not have a safe place to go home to and putting young people onto the train may not be a good idea. The welfare agencies are working to solve the problem but it doesn't work all the time. I don't know what to do with young kids unless they are supervised by an agency but then what do you do in the morning? Give them somehow a good home life. Sure, for a group of them, it will work. You get about 40 kids who come out over a weekend.

 

When they first started the curfew, they were just taking anyone off the streets but then they found they had too many too work with. Now they just place 10 into the JAG office at one time. If they can't find responsible adults, then DCD and the welfare services are left with them. Maybe home is what they're running away from. So you need to find other solutions. Some will go home. Some come in with money but they don't have any to go home with. Free train tickets is too easy.

Westrail aren't likely to know because they're on top of the list, the employees. I think the workers would do this when the need is there.

Pete – Counsellor & Youth Worker

Perth isn't a safe place. I think young people should be put onto a train. The agencies are too restrictive. They don't help people when they need help. A review of agency policies are needed, especially if they are funded by the Lotteries etc. The police and agencies can only do so much. This whole curfew thing is a stupid idea because a lot of them are on the streets because of home. At least from my point of view anyway. It's worse at home than out on the streets but I don't have the statistics on that so put that part as anonymous.

 

 

Sarah - Police Officer

The reason why you don't see young people hanging around Northbridge until later at night, is because they're all drinking at Hyde Park. Then they come in and hang around. We're also targeting some of the young ones who are prostituting. I don't support free train rides after 10pm but it's good for earlier. You'll find that Transit Guards will extend the zones if a young person has a current train ticket.

Susan - Westrail Aboriginal Liaison Officer

You shouldn't be encouraging young people to come into the city at night, especially by giving them free train tickets. Get DCD to use their own buses - they've got their own stuff going on. Have a night of sport or movies.

As a mother, I really think sports is the answer. But it's too late now. The kids have been here for way too long and now they've become street wise. I was taken from my parents when I was a child because they both worked!!!

So that's not the answer. I don't know.

Tanky – Railway Patrol Supervisor

I personally think free train tickets for young people won't work. Kids over the age of 15, 16… can go to the dole office to get free day train passes.

One percent of the Australian population is Aboriginal but I believe they give us 75% of our problems. It comes from the parents and grandparents.

I think about 60% of the young people buy a ticket. Sometimes we don't let the young people, who've come from the Carousel, get onto the train to Perth at Cannington Train Station. Kids get $50 fines, they build up, they get summons to court and get a criminal record.

The government needs to find an area, like the old East Perth Power Station. We need to find a big juvenile place for them to hangout. But then we would need to manage the place, there would be trouble, gangs and fights. Eventually the Aboriginals will get tangled up with the M'Bros and Spider Boys gangs and blood will be spilt everywhere. We need Aboriginal centres in their own areas like Cannington, Midland and Riverdale. Maybe we could have more PCYCs, perhaps near sporting ovals and increase the amount of recreation on the outskirts of the city.

We need an Elders Police Unit, more mentors and police intervention. The Elders need to deal with their own kids and need to work more with NASAS and the Noongar Patrol.

Find young people something to do. There is nothing in the city for them to do. They steal when they get bored.

Transit Guard

There is no policy stating that but it's our discretion.

 

Westrail Officer

That's not right. If you don't have the right ticket, WHAM, BAM, you're fined!