Alleged attack on nurse sparks youth curfew push

YOUTH curfews and a Neighbourhood Watch group have been flagged as solutions to juvenile anti-social behaviour plaguing Yarrabah which forced the temporary closure of the emergency department.

Dozens of community leaders, elders, police, health workers and residents turned out for a meeting in Bishop Malcolm Park on Thursday.

The meeting followed an alleged attack on an emergency department nurse by youths armed with a slingshot, along with other reported safety disturbances.

The department closed its doors on Tuesday and is not expected to reopen until Saturday due to concerns over staff safety.

Yarrabah mayor Ross Andrews said residents had to "fight to keep the emergency department open".

Yarrabah mayor Ross Andrews (centre) addresses the community meeting over the emergency department closure.
Yarrabah mayor Ross Andrews (centre) addresses the community meeting over the emergency department closure.


He said the meeting had been "very encouraging".

"People spoke with their heart and … greatly acknowledged that the emergency department plays a very important role, not only in our community, but in all communities," he said.

"The best we can do is try to mitigate some of those risks."

Along with a juvenile curfew and Neighbourhood Watch, Cr Andrews said some of the ideas touted included greater support for families through the Family Responsibilities Commission and a bush boot camp.

He said all the ideas would be considered.

"We acknowledge it is a complex issue and we need to work with the community and government," he said.

A community meeting has been held in Yarrabah over the emergency department closure.
A community meeting has been held in Yarrabah over the emergency department closure.

 

Police confirmed earlier in the week the slingshot allegedly used to target the nurse had been seized and destroyed.

Officers also had discussions with the alleged offenders - two boys aged just 11 and 12.

The Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service Aboriginal Corporation has stayed open, with patients requiring emergency treatment being taken to Cairns by ambulance.

Chief executive Sue Andrews took to Facebook to beg the community to "stop the shanghai and stone throwing" at health workers.

A Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service spokesman confirmed during the week workers had been bussed to the emergency department for months due to safety fears.

Originally published as Alleged attack on nurse sparks youth curfew push


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