Appeal for more police as mining camps swell in Moranbah
THE Queensland Police Union has called for Moranbah police numbers to be doubled in order to address increasing incidents of alcohol-fuelled violence.
Concerned community members have said mine workers living in camps have skewed the town's true population, leaving it under-policed.
Tonight, those community members will host a meeting in an attempt to address the issue.
Organiser Karlie Cummins said the goal was to ensure Moranbah retained its reputation as a "safe and friendly" place for families. "We are funded on how many permanent residents are here, but we have a ghost population and we want our police funding to be relevant to how many people are in town at any one time," she said.
Ms Cummins said that "ghost" population could some times number as high as 10,000 workers.
Queensland Police Union central Queensland regional representative Sergeant Bill Feldman said the Moranbah police force currently struggled to operate safely on a 24-hour basis.
"They're on call after midnight and that just doesn't reflect the community expectations," Sgt Feldman said.
At the moment, there are nine police officers and two Criminal Investigation Bureau officers stationed at Moranbah.
Sgt Feldman said a bare minimum of 18 staff was required for a 24-hour station.
Moranbah police Senior Sergeant Michael Bailey said there had been a couple of recent alcohol-related assaults in the town, but said it shouldn't be considered "a spike".
"I think it's up to the community, from this meeting, to see what they can pull together in terms of crime prevention strategies... in terms of keeping people safe," he said.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker met with Police Minister Jack Dempsey last week to discuss the issue.
The 'Increase the Peace in Moranbah' meeting will take place at 7pm at the Moranbah Community Workers Club.
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SUPPORT FROM LEAGUE PLAYERS
FORMER NRL players will be among those pushing to "increase the peace" in Moranbah tonight at a community meeting.
Josh Hannay, Jaiman Lowe and John Doyle have all announced their support for the plan. The three men, who are also mine workers, will stress the need for other community members to avoid violence.
Mr Lowe, who recently moved to Moranbah with his wife and two young daughters, said it was important for people to attend the meeting.
He said people should be able to live in Moranbah without worrying about violence.
The meeting will also feature Paul Stanley, of the Mathew Stanley Foundation, as guest speaker.
In 2006, Matthew Stanley lost his life after being bashed outside a teenagers' party aged just 15.
Since losing his son, Mr Stanley has been instrumental in promoting the One Punch Can Kill campaign.