Labor’s failures leave youth justice workers in harms way

Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto.

21 June 2024

 Youth workers at Townsville’s notorious Cleveland Youth Detention Centre have suffered serious injuries allegedly at the hands of violent youth criminals armed with makeshift weapons.

Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader lashed out at the State Labor Government claiming that situations like this were created by the pressure cooker environment of traditional youth detention centres that fester criminality and violent cultures amongst detainees.

“Labor has been caught sitting on their hands again when it comes to youth detention with no strong regime in place to deal with these kids in a way that actually rehabilitates and deters them from future criminal activity,” Mr Dametto said.

“The big question must be asked—what happened to the EOI process for Labor’s Intensive On Country Program? This was announced in February this year and seems to have vanished off the radar. There was no trace of it in the recently announced State Budget and no outcome yet of the EOI process that closed in March.

“The Government has acknowledged that the detention centres currently operating in Queensland don’t work. Cleveland boasts a staggering 95% re-offender rate within 12 months of release. New “therapeutic” detention centres in Brisbane and Cairns aren’t expected to be operational until 2026 yet Labor has no solutions to offer for the here and now.

“Youth workers doing their best with the limited tools they have shouldn’t have to pay the physical and emotional toll of this Government’s failures.

“The Premier was in town this week, and if I were him I would have ensured a visit to the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre was my number one priority. A Labor Premier should be demonstrating to workers that their health and safety is the number one concern of government. Every worker deserves to go home without physical or mental injury.

“KAP would like to see Relocation Sentencing rolled out across the state and has lent its conditional support to the Intensive On Country Program because of the shared similarities between the two.  KAP’s Relocation Sentencing Policy that aims to send recidivist youth offenders out bush and away from their negative influences.

“Townsville residents know talk is cheap, it’s one thing to fly up and make grand announcements in regard to youth crime policy but we seem to have had our cynicism met with the reality that Labor’s Intensive On Country Program idea will likely fade into obscurity before the October election.”


Nick Dametto MP