New laws to deny bail to repeat youth offenders considered a danger to the community have been passed in the Queensland Parliament.
The Palaszczuk Government’s legislation will strengthen the law and ensure high-risk, repeat youth offenders who are an unacceptable risk are not granted bail.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said the Palaszczuk Government had listened to community concern about youth crime.
“These laws leave no doubt community safety comes first,” Ms Farmer said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s changes will mean if a young person is judged an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community, they must be refused bail.
“It’s a significant change aimed squarely at repeat and prolific young offenders.
“I am making it crystal clear; community safety always comes first.”
Minister Farmer said the amendments simplify and strengthen the law, removing the word ‘may’ and replacing it with ‘must’ keep a child in custody if the young person is an unacceptable risk to the safety or welfare of a person, or if there is an unacceptable risk to community safety.
“These measures follow a record investment by the Palaszczuk Government in early intervention programs, new detention centre beds and extra police,” Ms Farmer said.
“Resources are on the ground to make sure these new arrangements for bail are operationally effective.
“The Palaszczuk Government has invested more than half a billion dollars into youth justice reforms, including 76 new youth detention centre beds.
“There has been a steady drop in youth crime, it’s an investment that’s getting results.
“It’s a small, hardcore group of repeat young offenders that are responsible for 44 per cent of all youth crime.
“They cause grief in the community and I make no apology for making them the target of new denial-of-bail legislation.
The Palaszczuk Government’s Five-point Action Plan to tackle those hardcore youth offenders includes:
- Tougher action on bail
- Police blitz on bail – appealing court decisions where appropriate
- Police strikes team targeting high risk offenders in Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane North, Rockhampton and Gold Coast
- Trialling culture-based rehabilitation through new on-country initiatives in Townsville, Cairns and Mount Isa
- 10 community-based crime action committees, sharing $2 million to develop local community-based solutions.
Minister Farmer said new ‘On Country’ programs would begin next month in Mt Isa, Townsville and Cairns.
Co-responder Strike Teams with police and youth justice workers teaming up in cars to target high risk offenders, are operational in key Queensland cities.