Youth Justice Bill needs regional hearings
PUBLIC hearings into the State Labor Government’s Youth Justice Bill must be held across North Queensland, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.
Mr Dametto said it would be unacceptable if Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee confined hearings to Brisbane “given the extent of the youth crime crisis facing North Queensland”.
“There needs to be a recognition of the extent of this problem with multiple hearings in our region,” Mr Dametto said.
“I want people in Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Mt Isa, Doomadgee, the Gulf and anywhere else where crime is out of control to be able to have their say. As far as I’m concerned, if the public hearings are confined to the south-east, the Committee will give the impression they aren’t interested in getting honest feedback on the merits of this Bill.”
Mr Dametto said he feared “do-gooders” and “bleeding hearts” would dominate the hearings if ordinary people, including victims of crime, weren’t involved in the process.
“North Queenslanders have had enough of these people in far-off Brisbane telling us we need to be soft on youth criminals. They want real punishments and deterrents against these young thugs who are running lives and killing people.”
The Committee is due to table its report on the Bill on April 9, after which it will return to Parliament for debate.
Mr Dametto said Katter’s Australian Party’s had strong amendments for the Bill “ready to go” when it was brought back into parliament.
“Our 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,” he said.
“They’ll 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.”
Mr Dametto said it would be up to the government to decide whether they “had the guts” to let the KAP’s amendments be debated in parliament.
“Parliament is going to have to give me permission to introduce these amendments, so we’ll see how committed the Labor majority is to reforming youth justice in Queensland. If they don’t, it will be a slap in the face to victims of crime across the state,” he said.
“The KAP stands with hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens across our state in saying enough is enough.”