Tourists write scathing reviews to warn fellow Aussies to stay away from a popular outback town as juvenile delinquency threatens to tarnish its reputation.
Travel site TripAdvisor has been inundated with reviews warning tourists on road trips through northern Australia to avoid Queensland’s mining town of Mount Isa.
According to the latest crime data, Mount Isa has a property crime rate of 1,167.37 incidents per 100,000 city residents — more than triple the national average.
A Sydney family who left Mount Isa before their three booked nights were up explained why tourists should stay away.
“I really hate leaving bad reviews and this one is based on the juvenile crime plain and simple,” the family wrote.
“I would not recommend anyone to stay in Mt Isa. We found the managers to be very friendly and helpful but unfortunately this does not mitigate the problem of crime.
“My advice is just stay away from Mt. Isa.”
The outback town of Mount Isa is a regular stop for tourists touring through Northern Australia
TripAdvisor has been inundated with reviews warning tourists to avoid Mount Isa
Another family acknowledged the amenities and campground they stayed at were good, but raised concerns about safety.
“There are no gates so anyone can go in at any time and that is unacceptable in a city with so much crime,” they wrote.
“I will NEVER be returning and I am posting this to hopefully help others decide NOT to stay here as it is unsafe and we were extremely uncomfortable all night.”
A third NSW couple captioned their review ‘Avoid, Avoid, Avoid’ after waiting several weeks for their car to be repaired.
“We were here for 16 days. During that time, people next to us had their wallets stolen from the car,” they said.
“One morning our van door was opened at 2:45am. A few days later, around 2:30 a.m., a voice rose from the blind, only to see a teenager reaching for the doorknob after the time.’
The online reviews sparked anger from Robbie Katter, the local state MP, who called on Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk to “show leadership and intervene” to address the issue.
While acknowledging to Daily Mail Australia that juvenile delinquency is a major problem in the city, he said he doesn’t want to discourage tourists from visiting the region.
“My advice is to take precautions,” he said.
“Most of what Mount Isa has to offer visitors is outside of the city and is incredibly spectacular that all Australians should enjoy.”
Mr Katter said local tourism providers are doing their best but have been hampered by a lack of government intervention to tackle juvenile delinquency.
“It’s a double-edged sword for them. They want travelers to come here, but at the same time they can’t ignore the fact that this is a problem,” he said.
Island BMX Club, a local bike spot, was one of the city’s latest casualties.
Vandals broke into the club last week and set it on fire, leaving a trail of extensive damage.
Travelers left a torrent of scathing reviews of Mount Isa online on TripAdvisor. Pictured is recent vandalism at a local BMX clubhouse
Island BMX Club needs to build new toilets and shower facilities that were destroyed by vandals
It was the final blow to the club, already struggling financially in the wake of the pandemic and only operating thanks to the generous support of local businesses.
Heartbroken officials shared photos of the damage, including burnt walls and the wrecked clubhouse, with items including food strewn about.
“The toilet and shower facilities are completely burned and condemned,” the club wrote.
“The clubhouse was destroyed, almost all equipment smashed, doors and windows ripped out and general club and track damage.
“At this point we are not sure what this will mean for the future of BMX at Mount Isa.”
Mount Isa CBD was also placed on an emergency lockdown last weekend due to two separate police operations.
The city of Mount Isa has a property crime rate more than three times the national average
Mr Katter urged Ms Palaszczuk to “show leadership and intervene” to address the issues he told Parliament last week.
“Violent and destructive juvenile delinquency is tearing communities apart in North Queensland and they are crying out for help,” he said.
“Mount Isa has now boarded up several businesses and TripAdvisor recommends that people don’t stay for safety reasons.
“Given the inaction of relevant ministers, will the prime minister show leadership and step in to ensure that alternative tools, such as a relocation sentence, are made available?”
In reply to Mr Katter, Ms Palaszczuk acknowledged that juvenile delinquency is a serious problem in many Queensland communities, including Mount Isa.
“These are very complex issues. Unfortunately, some young children involved in juvenile delinquency do not have safe homes,” she said.
“We need to continue to expand our care system and we need to recognize that this needs to be culturally appropriate as well.”
Local MP Robbie Katter (pictured) told state legislature last week juvenile delinquency was tearing the community apart
Four of the top 10 property crime districts belong to Mr Katter’s constituency, including Mount Isa, Doomadgee, Mornington Island and Normanton.
He called on the state government to offer $1,500 in safety grants to those affected in crime-ridden communities.
“This crime wave is not discriminatory, people have packed their bags and left the cities and besieged businesses have already closed their businesses or are ready to do so due to crime and that’s a disgrace in any case,” Mr Katter said.
“If the government is clearly unwilling to change laws to help, we need to find a small way to financially support people who want to be proactive and help lock up these offenders.”