Intensive On Country Trial, or not?

Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto.

19 May 2024

It’s been two months since the EOI process for the revamped Intensive On Country Program concluded and as crime continues to traumatise residents and compromise the safety of North Queenslander’s, Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader Nick Dametto is now calling on the State Labor Government to urgently update the public on the results of the EOI process.

In February this year, Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer announced that the Miles Government would deliver a “New Intensive On Country Program to ‘tackle’ juvenile First Nation offenders. The program was promised to provide an “intensive cultural and residential experience”.

The program shared some common elements with KAP’s Relocation Sentencing policy, which was cautiously welcomed by the community and the KAP with concerns around important elements like the for it to be mandatory and court ordered sentencing.

Mr Dametto said victims were truly hurting and looking for a genuine solution to reduce the severity and frequency of youth crime. They would not be forgiving if the State Government used this previous announcement as a media stunt or a way to buy them time before the October election.

“Youth crime is North Queensland’s number one concern and if the Government have genuinely proceeded through the EOI process then they must expedite the delivery of this program which means announcing and funding a chosen program or programs as soon as possible,” the Hinchinbrook MP said.

“Equally important, the community deserves to know what is going on. After all they are the ones suffering, particularly in places such as Cairns, Mareeba, Mount Isa and Townsville where crime has taken a recent turn for the worst recently.

“The chaos on our streets continues with numerous vehicles being reported stolen each night at a frequency as high as seven per night in Townsville alone, as well as violent car-jackings and robberies that have left residents completely shaken!

“Police are pleased to have the POLAIR police helicopter as a tool to help track and apprehend youth offenders but now the judicial system needs the tools to lock up and rehabilitate if we have any chance at reducing the number of youth criminals on our streets.

“Time is now ticking for the State Government to deliver something meaningful in a short period of time that reduces youth crime. Victims cannot afford lip service from this government, they want practical solutions delivered now which means programs kicking off within the month.

KAP’s Relocation Sentencing Policy was formally released in August 2023 and received far-reaching and overwhelming community support. The policy is based on four key pillars  (1) Remote location (2) Mandatory (3) Fixed term and (4) Intensive rehabilitation.


Nick Dametto MP