Youth crime report misses mark: Dametto

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto surveys a burnt out car at Saunders Beach, north of Townsville


A REPORT to State Government focusing on solutions to addressing youth crime in Townsville has missed a golden opportunity to a make a real difference, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said he strongly disagreed with the sentiments of Townsville’s “Community Champion”, retired Major-General Stuart Smith, who was dismissive of relocation sentencing as a solution to youth crime in his report.

“Major-General Smith claims that only a minority of residents he spoke to proposed things like bootcamps, curfews or relocation sentencing. Well, I can certainly say that a great majority of residents I’ve spoken to indeed want these things to happen because soft, slap-on-the-wrist policies don’t work,” Mr Dametto said.

“I chaired a relocation sentencing forum in Deeragun earlier this year and the vast majority, if not all, of those who attended were supportive of Katter’s Australian Party’s youth relocation sentencing policy because they were sick of having their lives ruined by petty crime.”

Under Katter’s Australian Party’s policy, magistrates would be given the ability to effectively banish young offenders from the community in which they committed the crime.

They 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.

In a stirring speech delivered to parliament in October, Mr Dametto warned the State Labor Government to either fix North Queensland’s crime crisis or face electoral oblivion.

“Every afternoon good, hardworking people, taxpayers who fund this parliament, are packing up their job sites, places of work and for some their businesses for the day. They tidy up and lock up, close the tills and activate their alarms in a bid to save themselves from the criminals that lurk in the dark of night,” he told parliament.

“As homeowners wash up and lock up their homes of an evening, they hide their car keys and their wallets in a safe spot in a bid to protect themselves against what lurks in the night and what might come. Every morning I wake up wondering what devastation happened last night. Is my car still out the front and who will call me today to tell me their business has been broken into?

“I am standing here to put the government on notice that the people of Hinchinbrook do not care how it fixes this property crime problem; just fix it now.”
Mr Dametto has personally been a victim of crime after his custom car trailer was stolen earlier this year.

“It’s obvious everybody wants a solution to this crime crisis that has entered every corner of our region, but based on the recommendations I’ve read, I don’t think this report goes far enough in proposing effective real deterrents for young, would-be criminals,” he said.

“With that said, I welcome Major-General recommendation for tougher laws aimed at holding parents to account for their child’s school attendance. This was raised as an issue during the KAP’s relocation sentencing forum and will help keep kids in school where they should be learning.

“But we need to have real deterrents when it comes to ending the cycle of youth crime and relocation sentencing will do that.”

Nick Dametto MP