Parole board issues statement on Childers murderer

QUEENSLAND'S Parole Board has issued a statement over Childers backpacker murderer Robert Long saying it would be "inappropriate" to comment about his parole application.

Fifteen people died in the 2000 blaze after Long set the Palace hostel on fire.

Long, 57, was sentenced to 20 years in jail but could be released on parole in weeks.

He was convicted of arson and two murders - of twins Kelly and Stacey Slarke - however was not charged over the other 13 deaths.

Long has applied for parole and survivors and families of victims are outraged he could be released and say he should have been charged over the other deaths. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has told The Courier-Mail Long would not be charged over the 13 other deaths.



Survivors have started a petition pleading for the parole board to refuse his release.

"Parole Board Queensland is aware that the parole application by Robert Long is of significant interest to the public, particularly victims and their families," a parole board statement said today.

The backpackers building fully engulfed.
The backpackers building fully engulfed.

"The board is an independent statutory authority led by a president with equivalent experience and standing as a Supreme Court Justice and deputy presidents as District Court Judges.

"The board is also comprised of professional board members with legal or health qualifications, public service representatives with experience in community corrections, senior police officers and members of the community."



"Five members, one from each of those categories, and chaired by the president or a deputy president comprise the decision-making body.

"It would be inappropriate for the board to make comments in relation to the particulars of an application before it."

The statement said the board's purpose was to make "independent, transparent, fair and evidence-based parole decisions which appropriately address risk to the community".

Robert Long was known for lighting fires.
Robert Long was known for lighting fires.

"The board has no role to play in, and no power to vary, sentencing decisions including setting parole eligibility dates," the statement said.

"Those are matters exclusively for the courts.

"All relevant material will be considered by Parole Board Queensland in making an evidence-based decision in relation to this application (as with all applications), in accordance with the

law and Ministerial Guidelines with community safety its highest priority.

"Relevant material includes submissions made by victims and/or their families."