In August 2016, 14-year-old Elijah Doughty was ran off the road and killed in Kalgoorlie. His death and the subsequent trial sparked an emotional debate about the tension between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in the West Australian mining town.
Aboriginal research group, Koya Aboriginal Corporation, was asked by the Federal Government to go into Kalgoorlie in 2017 and find out why the young Aboriginal people in Kalgoorlie were feeling “unsafe, bored, unheard” and that they had little opportunity. The report found a third of 11 – 17 year-olds were in a state of high psychological distress, but most would not seek help from mental health services. Others found the town they lived in to be racist and unsafe.
It also found that the young Aboriginal people in Kalgoorlie had little to no faith in the police, which is a trend reflected across Australia. In Wagga Wagga, NSW, police and Aboriginal liaison officers are trying to connect with young kids in social housing by taking them fishing in the school holidays.
In Mt Isa, Queensland, police are embarking on a much more hard-lined approach to tackle anti-social behaviour and petty crime, which involves a ‘stop and question’ program.