Priest Wants Government to Do More for Aborigines to Prevent Crime

David Cappo blasts government inaction over Gang of 49

Maria Moscaritolo: The Advertiser | July 28, 2008,22606,24087934-5006301,00.html

THE new Families and Communities Minister has conceded her department has more to do in addressing the Gang of 49 crime culture in Adelaide.

Earlier today, the man charged with addressing the social ills behind the Gang of 49 – Monsignor David Cappo – said government departments were not doing enough to help.

Father Cappo, the chairman of the State Government’s Social Inclusion Board, singled out the Family and Communities Department as not doing enough and not working quickly enough.

Jennifer Rankine, the state’s new Families and Communities Minister following last week’s Cabinet reshuffle, said she would be meeting again with Father Cappo to discuss the issue, and will also hold talks with senior figures in Families SA this week.

“We always want things to go quicker than they are but we want to get things right as well,” Ms Rankine said today.

“There’s always room for improvement and I’ll be speaking with Families SA. (But) let’s be realistic, we’re working with the most difficult members of our community.”

Cappo fears another major Gang of 49 tragedy

Earlier, Father Cappo praised police for a “fantastic job” in bringing young Aboriginal criminals to the courts, but said government agencies were not providing enough support to help cut the reoffending rate.

On ABC radio this morning, he said the work of the police and justice system would be wasted without greater government support.

He said government departments must work “at a much more intense” level or efforts to reduce Aboriginal youth crime would fail.

“Now the Budget money is there, the money is now place in the last Budget so there are no excuses in terms of delivery, it’s just speeding it up and unfortunately I think you know the record of Families SA over the years is a very poor performer in terms of delivery,” he told the ABC.

Father Cappo, who admitted he listened nervously to news reports each morning with a fear that youth crime could claim a life, said crime rates had not improved since he began work on the issue 18 months ago.

“The more this goes on the more anxiety I have in terms of we will see another death on the road, another major, major tragedy if we don’t get this right in ...

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