Youth crime crackdown plan in CQ revealed by LNP candidate
UNHAPPY with the prevalence of youth crime in the Keppel region, the LNP plan to crack down with tough new laws and a justice system overhaul.
Keppel candidate Adrian de Groot said if the LNP wins the next state election on October 31, community safety would be improved by the LNP's comprehensive plan to address youth crime.
He said youth offenders on bail would be monitored 24/7, there would be mandatory detention for third convictions, a Community Payback Farm program would be established to rehabilitate repeat offenders, youth bail houses would be scrapped, and justice reinvestment would be trialled to increase early intervention.
"Everyone in Keppel has a right to feel safe in their home and out on the streets," Mr de Groot said.
"Youth crime is one of the major issues families in Keppel are telling me is out of control.
"We need to make a stand against youth crime in Keppel, but Labor hasn't got the guts to tackle the problem."
According to general crime statistics in Capricornia since Labor were elected in 2015, Mr de Groot said robbery had increased by 88 per cent since while unlawful use of a motor vehicle has increased 107 per cent.
Additionally, there was a 132 per cent increase in armed robberies and a 75 per cent increase in shop stealing.
"An LNP Government will stop youth crime in its tracks with our comprehensive plan," Mr de Groot said.
"We will scrap Labor's 'catch and release' laws that let juvenile offenders get away with crime.
"The LNP's plan is all about preventing youth crime, cracking down on offenders with new laws and tougher penalties, and rehabilitating repeat offenders to break the cycle and slam the revolving door closed."
Mr de Groot said local police were "stretched to the limit" from catching the same offenders time and time again.
"There will be true consequences for young repeat offenders under an LNP Government, not just slaps on the wrist like under Labor," he said.
"I know the people of Keppel want a safe community and a strong economy that provides good, secure jobs."
According to the Queensland Government, the state has seen a 30 per cent drop in the number of youths committing offences since 2010.
Last month, the Queensland government passed new laws in a crime crackdown to strengthen current and ineffective laws surrounding repeat youth offenders.
Juvenile criminals who were deemed a danger to the Rockhampton community would no longer receive bail as part of the state's 'hard line on youth crime' five-point action plan to combat the issue.
Under the plan, police will be given more power to appeal bail for young offenders, strike teams will target problem areas including Rockhampton, while culture-based rehabilitation will take place through new on-country initiatives.
Child Safety, Youth and Women Minister Di Farmer said the new legislation followed significant investments in early intervention programs, new detention centre beds and extra police.
"We've put over half a billion dollars into youth justice reforms, including the construction of new youth detention beds, and that investment is seeing results," Ms Farmer said.
"This is a significant change to what has been in place and it is aimed squarely at repeat and prolific young offenders."
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the latest data showed that youth crime and the number of young offenders across the electorate of Keppel had significantly reduced in the 12 months to March 2020, compared to the previous year.
"There has been a 30 percent drop in the number of offences committed by 10 to 17-year-olds in the Rockhampton local government area in the 12 months to March 2020," Ms Lauga said.
"In the year to March 2020, there were 1049 charged offences, compared to 1501 charged offences for the year to March 2019.
"There's also been a 78 percent drop in the number of offences committed by 10-17- year-olds in the Livingstone Shire local government area in the 12 months to March 2020, compared to the previous twelve months."
"In the year to March 2020, 126 10 to 17-year-olds were charged with an offence compared to 155 in the year to March 2019.
"In Livingstone Shire there were 27 young people charged with an offence in the year to March 2020, compared to 41 in the previous year - a 34 percent drop."
Although there's been a 30 percent drop in the number of young offenders committing offences around Queensland, Ms Lauga said there was still a small hard-core group of repeat young offenders who commit 44 percent of youth crime.
"The Palaszczuk Government makes no apology for cracking down hard on repeat youth offenders," she said.
"Our five-point plan, which includes our recently announced 24-hour Co-responder model for the Rockhampton area is part of dealing with these young offenders.
"This plan, in addition to the Palaszczuk Government's new laws to deny bail to repeat young offenders considered a danger to the community leave no doubt community safety comes first.
"We know there's no single solution to youth crime, that's why we're delivering a range of responses including T2S which was launched in Central Queensland in 2017 to get young offenders back into school, training and a job."
Speaking about Restorative Justice Conferences, she said an average 77 percent of young people who completed a Restorative Justice Conference either do not reoffend or showed a decrease in the magnitude of their re-offending within six months of their conference.
"Restorative Justice holds young offenders directly accountable to victims of crime, diverts young people from courts and reduces offending," she said.
"Other early intervention programs include Family Wellbeing Services and Integrated Case Management, an intensive support programs for repeat offenders.
"The Palaszczuk Government has increased the number of youth detention centre beds since we came to Government, by one third or 76 beds.
"More than $550 million has been invested in youth justice reforms by the Palaszczuk Government to prevent, support and respond to crime and its causes."
Ms Lauga said the LNP's candidate for Keppel had no ideas about youth crime, other than a dusted off press release full of Campbell Newman's old failed policies which had been cut and pasted from their Brisbane head office.
The LNP's plan to crack down on crime
• The LNP will remove the concept of detention being a last resort sentence, bring back breach of bail as an offence and scrap Labor's 'catch and release' bail laws to control the skyrocketing crime caused by repeat offenders. The LNP will also introduce laws to recognise prior offending in the courts. This will mean a court sentencing an adult will be able to admit evidence that the adult was found guilty as a child of an offence even if a conviction was not recorded, giving courts a more complete picture of adult offenders' histories.
• 24/7 monitoring of youth offenders on bail or other court orders
• The LNP will extend youth justice monitoring of youth offenders on bail, or on supervised and conditional release orders to be around the clock. This will take pressure of hardworking police who are already overstretched. This will free up police resources and ensure the Department of Youth Justice is more accountable. The role of Police should be to prevent and detect crime, not babysit young offenders on bail or on court orders.
Mandatory detention for third conviction
• The Youth Justice Act will be amended to force the courts to sentence a youth to detention if convicted of a third offence. The LNP will crack down on repeat offenders and there will be no more slaps on the wrist.
Establish Community Payback Farm Program
• The LNP will introduce a trial of five Community Payback Farms for young offenders who have been through youth detention. The farms will be located in Far North Queensland, North Queensland, Central Queensland and two in the Southeast region. This approach will focus on learning new skills, improving self-discipline, teaching offenders to take ownership of their actions, with a focus on culturally appropriate programs and elder mentoring. The trial is part of the LNP's plan to rehabilitate young offenders and reduce reoffending rates.
Scrapping youth bail houses
• Youth bail houses were introduced in 2017 and despite two damning reviews released late last year, Labor have committed to a further review if the program at the end of 2020. Bail houses have been an expensive failure and have failed to reduce reoffending rates. Of the 95 young people residing in the bail houses since the commencement of operation to March 31, 2019, 80 have committed at least one new offence.
• Justice reinvestment diverts a portion of the funds for youth detention to local communities where there is a high concentration of offenders. It promotes physical, cognitive, social and emotional health in children to reduce youth crime in specific communities. The LNP will establishing a dedicated $7 million justice reinvestment two-year trial in 2021/22 and 2022/23 with Cairns and Townsville being ideal locations. It will be a grants program, which will consist specifically of a number of smaller grants to non-government organisations.
• A range of justice reinvestment programs in Australia have proven to be successful in early intervention and reducing offending. Backing Bourke, a program led Just Reinvest NSW, focuses on indigenous youth in and around Bourke. An impact assessment found a 31 per cent increase in Year 12 student retention rates and a 38 per cent reduction in charges across the top five juvenile offence categories; a 14 per cent reduction in bail breaches and a 42 per cent reduction in days spent in custody. The 'BackTrack' Youth Works Program in NSW delivered a 35 per cent cut in juvenile crime in a one-year-period.