Youth crime will be tackled with tough new laws and an overhaul of the state justice system if the Liberal National Party wins government at the state election on October 31.
The crackdown on youth crime comes amid a growing number of offences and an alarming increase in repeat offenders. Offences have included a range of violent crimes, breaking into houses and stealing cars. A recent forum on crime and community safety on Bribie Island considered a range of local issues including measures to clamp down on hooning by young people.
LNP candidate for Pumicestone, Fiona Gaske said that while she remained very supportive of rehabilitation programs for young offenders, there was increasing frustration within the community over the way many young offenders simply thumbed their noses at police showing not the slightest remorse.
“Too often, penalties handed down by the courts amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist only encouraging them to reoffend” Fiona Gaske said.
“If elected to government next month, the LNP will ensure youth offenders on bail are monitored 24/7; there would be mandatory detention for third convictions; a community payback farm program would be established to rehabilitate offenders, and youth bail houses would be scrapped.
“Youth bail houses were introduced in 2017 and despite two damning reviews late last year, the Labor Government has committed to yet a further review of the program at the end of this year.
“Of the 95 young people residing in the bail houses in its first 2 years of operation, 80 had re-offended at least once making the program a dismal failure.
“The LNP will remove the principle of detention as a last resort and bring back breach of bail as an offence as well as scrapping Labor’s “catch and release” bail laws” Fiona Gaske said.
If elected to Government, the LNP says sweeping changes will be made to Labor’s broken justice system. Officers of the Department of Youth Justice would be required to provide round the clock monitoring of youth offenders on bail, or on supervised and conditional release orders. This will make the Department more accountable and free up the heavy work load of police.
Fiona Gaske praised the support provided by police but said their frustrations were apparent when having to catch the same offenders time and time again.
“There must be serious consequences for young repeat offenders” she said.
The LNP will introduce a trial of 5 Community Payback Farms for young offenders who have been through youth detention. The approach will focus on learning new skills, improving self-discipline, teaching offenders to take ownership of their actions, and provide opportunities to give something back through some form of community service.
It will be up to the court to decide which youths should spend time at the farm, but the focus will be on repeat offenders.