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Mayor hopeful summit can ease racial woes

Wednesday 16 Jan 2013 11:28a.m.

Summit to address Qld racial tensions

The mayor of a south Queensland city where there have been clashes between Aboriginal and Pacific Island groups hopes a two-day forum next month will ease tensions.

Police have descended on the Logan suburb of Woodridge after four nights of confrontations between an Aboriginal family and a Pacific Islander family, and their supporters.

Douglas St, where the worst confrontations have occurred, was relatively quiet on Tuesday night, as police kept a presence.

Politicians are now turning their minds to solving some of the underlying issues they believe are contributing to social unrest in the multicultural community.

Logan Mayor Pam Parker has high hopes for a two-day safety summit she will convene next month, involving community leaders and representatives from the state and federal governments.

She says there are big issues for some residents of Logan, including access to employment and training.

"We have extremely high unemployment in Woodridge and it's been inter-generational," Ms Parker said.

"That's something we'd want to be looking at."

Ms Parker met on Tuesday with Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey, who promised an increased police presence until the confrontations stopped.

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal family involved in the dispute has told The Courier-Mail they will move out of Douglas St.

Tim Briggs said he'd lived in the Douglas St home with his wife and four children for six years, but now he wanted out.

"It's for the safety of my family, my children. We just want people to calm down now, to stop," he said.

Mr Briggs said he spoke by phone on Tuesday with the other family involved in the tensions, the Palau family, who live a few hundred metres down the street.

A group of Aboriginal women were also welcomed into the Palau home for peace talks, the newspaper reported.

The paper said members of the two families had detailed the event that had sparked days of unrest - an argument at a set of traffic lights between separate cars of Aboriginal and Pacific Island men on Saturday night.

A confrontation followed at a local supermarket and then at Douglas St, where a car owned by a member of the Palau family was damaged.

A group of Islander men retaliated by smashing in the windows of three cars at the home of the Aboriginal family.

Rocks were also hurled through the windows and walls of the house as its residents hid in a barricaded back room.

NZN

 
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