‘Terrorist’ teenager should be properly punished


A ‘TERRORIST’ teenager who caused a bomb hoax at a Townsville shopping centre should be locked up in juvenile detention, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said he was furious the teen, 13, was let off with just a warning by police after he caused mass panic at Stockland Shopping Centre last Thursday with a bomb threat.

“Every Townsville resident should be absolutely disgusted by this, we’re sending the wrong message,” Mr Dametto said.

“Police must feel extremely frustrated with the current framework they are having to work within, hamstrung by the current Youth Justice Act. The Act is written in such a way as to protect the interest of the child at all costs which means that the crimes they commit as a juvenile don’t affect them in their adult life. Often, police are forced to serve cautions rather than charges.

“Unfortunately, what the Youth Justice Act isn’t protecting is the rights and safety of everyone else in the community who are being affected by these ongoing acts of terror by young offenders intended to cause fear and angst in our community.”

Mr Dametto said people were becoming increasing scared to visit their local shopping centre for fear of assault, having something stolen or their property damaged by out-of-control youths.

“Why is the State Labor Government allowing the rest of us to be held to ransom by these young thugs? They are wreaking daily havoc on our community to instil fear in the public. People are scared to stand up against these kids because they fear what they will do next. They have zero regard for personal and public property,” he said.

“You’ve got to ask what is wrong with these kids? Our legal system is giving them too much leeway with multiple chances to reform, but they are refusing to do so. Obviously, the current approach isn’t working.

“We’re paying for barristers through legal aid to get these kids off the hook. It’s ludicrous. The punishments need to start fitting the crime. Labor is letting us down by letting these offenders rule Townsville.

“If an adult made a bomb threat and was convicted, they would be facing the real prospect of five years jail time. But when a child does the same thing, they get off scot free. These kids know the law and their ‘rights’ and are weaponising this against us.”

Mr Dametto said a prime example of the failure of the Youth Justice Act was a 15-year-old who had racked up 90 entries on his criminal record in the space of just nine months.

“These offenders don’t fear the consequences. Why? Because there are none. Katter’s Australian Party’s relocation sentencing policy would see these kids sentenced to a purpose-built outback facility. Our focus is to get these kids out of town where they can’t reoffend,” Mr Dametto said.

“Under relocation sentencing, we’ll have offenders as young as 10 partaking in six to 12 months of intense reform programs where they will build discipline and learn valuable life skills at a remote property at Lake Julius near Mt Isa. I truly believe this is the circuit breaker needed to end this youth crime crisis plaguing North Queensland.

“Not everyone will agree with what we’re proposing but I don’t see anyone else coming forward with any red hot solutions.”


Nick Dametto MP