Forum offers real solution to crime crisis

SOLUTIONS, not grievances, will be the focus of a forum tomorrow aimed at addressing the youth crime crisis in North Queensland.

To be chaired by Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, the Relocation Sentencing Forum will feature a diverse and experienced line up of panellists discussing Katter’s Australian Party’s (KAP’s) youth relocation sentencing policy.

Mr Dametto said other recent crime forums had been a total failure due to the fact they were not providing any answers on combating youth crime.
“It is obvious to anyone with a bit of common sense that these other forums have ended up being talk fests which descend into emotional confrontations between members of the public and the panellists involved,” he said.

“Our Relocation Sentencing Forum makes it crystal clear from the outset what we are discussing – a policy that sends young offenders away from the community to work on the land and learn life skills, on top of discipline and respect for the law.

“The more public support we receive for our policy, the more likely it is that this Labor State Government will finally act on this crisis and consider relocation sentencing. People are fed up with the current “revolving door” approach to justice that does absolutely nothing to rehabilitate young offenders.”

Under the KAP’s policy, young offenders would be sent to an approved property in a remote location where they would work on the land to learn life skills to become contributing members of society.

Ankle bracelets would be used for added security, but security would be mainly through distance and isolation. An incentive system, based on points and certificate awards, would allow the offenders to feel a sense of achievement. This would include qualifications towards things such as a windmill technician, master butcher and stockman.

Mr Dametto believed relocation sentencing was the circuit breaker needed to stem youth crime in the region.

“This issue is affecting almost everyone in my electorate – from Lower Tully right down to Deeragun,” he said.

“Whether it’s individuals, businesses or community groups, people are absolutely craving an answer to stopping these young criminals. We already know what the problems are and we’ve got a workable solution in the KAP’s policy.”

The forum’s panel will comprise of Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey, Townsville City Councillor Russ Cook and local community advocate Mike Abraham.

Each speaker will bring a unique perspective on how to solve the youth crime crisis engulfing the region, through the prism of youth relocation sentencing.

Members of the public will also be encouraged to give their feedback on relocation sentencing in a question and answer session towards the end of the night.

Mr Katter said those attending the forum would appreciate the clarity and direction offered by the panel.

“We’re not asking, we’re telling. We’re advising what will happen if we get the balance of power. We are sick of people saying they’ll “look into it”,” he said.

“It’s not good enough for a government to run around asking what should be done. Townsville has got one of the highest crime rates in North Queensland and if you’re the government and you can’t figure out what needs to be done, well then you shouldn’t be the government.”

Mr Katter said relocation sentencing offered young offenders an “opportunity for a new start in life”.

“They will learn a whole lot of life skills that are lost to the community these days – they will do brick construction work, they’ll be constructing accommodation.

They will learn all about the pumping of water, they will learn skills of working cattle,” he said.

“There’s been all sorts of ideas like boot camps and everything else and they have proved disastrous failures because they are people from Brisbane who have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. Their feet have never set foot off the concrete pavement.

“The people who will be at our forum will have a lot of experience and will have a lot of ideas about what specific life skills these kids will need.”

The Relocation Sentencing forum will be held on Thursday, June 7 at St Anthony’s Catholic College along Joanne St, Deeragun from 6pm to 8pm.

All members of the public and the media are urged to attend.

Nick Dametto MP