KAP fights to toughen up Youth Justice Bill

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto says Labor’s Youth Justice Bill doesn’t go far enough to deter young offenders.

TOUGH amendments to the State Labor Government’s Youth Justice Bill are needed to give it the teeth it needs to tackle youth crime, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill was just “fiddling around the edges” in mandating high-risk offenders aged 16 and 17 wear GPS trackers as a condition of bail and requiring courts to seek assurances from parents and guardians that young offenders will adhere to bail conditions before bail can be granted.

“This Bill on its own is a weak attempt at trying to reassure people that Labor is doing something to improve community safety, when in reality, it’s hard so see what impact those measures will have on youth crime,” Mr Dametto said.

“That’s why Katter’s Australian Party will be attempting to introduce amendments this week that institute things like mandatory minimum sentencing at an approved remote property, which dovetails with our relocation sentencing policy.”

The KAP’s amendments will institute a minimum of 12 months imprisonment to be served wholly in a corrective services facility (detention centre or approved remote property) for recidivist young offenders who commit either Unlawful use or possession of motor vehicles, aircraft or vessel, Burglary and Entering or being in premises and committing indictable offences.

The amendments will also define a recidivist offender as someone who has been convicted of those serious offences at least twice, regardless of whether the offences were the same.

In the Townsville Local Government Area over the last month (March 20 to April 19, 2021), there were a total of 1537 offences committed.

Out of those offences, 292 offences were for unlawful entry, 77 were for unlawful use of a motor vehicle, 258 were for theft (excluding unlawful entry), 133 for assault and 92 were for other property damage.

“This is about drawing a line in the sand when it comes to young offenders. The community has had enough. They are fed up with living like prisoners in their own homes, in fear of setting a foot outside their door because someone could break into their home and steal their valuables or vehicle,” Mr Dametto said.

“Queenslanders have been crying out for a solution and when you pull apart Labor’s legislation it actually does very little. Will it stop a young boy or girl picking up a crowbar and going and breaking into houses in Townsville tonight? Absolutely not.

“That’s why the KAP has drafted amendments to this legislation to work as a circuit breaker, not only to stop children from breaking the law in the first place with a harsh deterrent, but to also provide them an opportunity through relocation sentencing to reform so they’ve got a positive future to look forward to once they get out.”

Nick Dametto MP