‘Bail houses don’t work’: Elder shares vision for town
CHERBOURG Elder Bevan Costello said he felt like he was 'banging his head up against a wall,' in trying to create a positive change in his community.
Recently the Barambah Local Justice Group wrote to the local magistrate calling for tougher enforcement of bail conditions.
Even though Uncle Bevan nearly became a victim of an illegal act carried out at on his home country last week, he said he disagreed with the demand to ask offenders involved in a wide range of criminal offences not be allowed to return to Cherbourg on bail.
"I was walking out the front of my house and I nearly got ran off the road by a stolen car that came flying around the corner," Uncle Bevan said.
"It really took me by surprise.
"I have been witnessessing this stuff go on for too long, but now we have to go deeper.
He said the letter was sent the local magistrates court after residents in the community came to the BLJG with their concerns.
"I can understand a lot of the elders in our community are tired of these offences.
"But we can't just tell them not to come back.
"Some of them are young as 10 years old, so we can't call them youth. They are children," he said.
"A lot of them are descendants, so you can't throw them off their own land."
Moving forward, Uncle bevan said he still had hope things would improve.
"I've been a principal for a long time now and I am dealing with kids who are in the system everyday.
"Putting our people into bail houses doesn't work.
"For example in Townsville, all of the bail houses are located in the middle of the city.
"The kids just walk straight onto the streets and go on to breaking the law again.
"My vision would be to bring the kids back home onto Wakka Wakka and take them out bush.
"First I would want to get their physical health checked and get them to under a drug and alcohol awareness program.
"Next I would get their mental health checked and then slowly start to teach them our cultural traditions."
Uncle Bevan said he knew a place up near Gaydnah which would be an ideal location to house a handful of these kids when they receive bail.
"None of these plans are concrete at the moment."
"It's just what I hope for, but this program would need some funding to get started," he said,
"I am here for the future and won't give up trying to improve these kids lives."