Dametto demands YJ action as Townsville crisis continues
25th February 2022
As the Townsville crime crisis reaches boiling point, Katter’s Australian Party Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has this week asked the Youth Justice Minister to commit her support to an investigation into Queensland youth detention centres.
On Thursday, the day after youth offenders in stolen vehicles terrorised a junior soccer training session in Aitkenvale, Mr Dametto put a formal question to Minister Leanne Linard asking whether she would support an inquiry into the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre.
He also backed parents’ calls for Youth Justice laws to change to make the streets safe again for their kids.
The Cleveland Youth Detention Centre has been subject to a barrage of damaging whistleblower claims in recent weeks, with a Townsville Magistrate blasting conditions at the facility and admitting they had affected the application of traditional sentencing principles.
In a speech to Parliament late on Thursday, Nick Dametto said life in Townsville was dictated by crime.
“I acknowledge that the Minister for Youth Justice came up to Townsville last week … we have had whistleblowers come forward to say what is going on at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre,” he said to the House.
“The kids are running the asylum out there! What did the Minister do? It has been reported that she went straight up to middle and upper management and sat there in an office for an hour.
“We have been told by staff who work on the floor, these youth workers who deal with these kids every day, that the Minister did not end up going down and talking to them.
“They are the ones who are blowing the whistle about the problems of the place.”
Mr Dametto said Townsville Labor MPs were invisible on the issue of crime, and that their allegiance appeared to be with their party room and not with the people they represent.
“All we are asking is for the Minister and the committee to back an inquiry into what is going on at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre and other detention centres across Queensland,” he said.
“Youth justice is failing – we want the government to put aside party politics and look at the KAP’s Relocation Sentencing policy.
“It is not the boot camps of the LNP. This is bigger and better; this is about sending recidivist offenders out of the city for six to 12 months – on country, where they cannot commit crimes anymore.”