New legislation around youth crime are set to be passed through parliament this week, ensuring repeat offenders are denied bail.
The Queensland Government introduced the legislation yesterday, which hopes to strengthen the law and ensure youth offenders who are deemed ‘an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community’ are not granted bail.
The amendments simply remove the word ‘may’ and replace it with ‘must’ keep a child in custody if the child is an unacceptable risk to the safety or welfare of a person or if there is an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community.
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Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer says communities across the state are being heard on the issue.
“These new laws will leave no doubt that the safety of the community comes first.
“These changes mean that if a young person is deemed an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community they must be refused bail.
“This is a significant change to what has been in place and it is aimed squarely at repeat and prolific young offenders.
“There is a perception in the community that the legislation is not clear. These changes make it crystal clear that community safety always comes first,” Ms Farmer said.
The laws will take effect on assent from the Governor.
The changes to the Youth Justice Act follow the government’s five point plan to take a ‘hard line on youth crime’, which includes:
· Tougher action on bail
· Police blitz on bail – appealing court decisions where appropriate
· Police strikes team targeting high risk offenders in Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane North, Rockhampton and Gold Coast
· Trialling culture-based rehabilitation through new on-country initiatives in Townsville, Cairns and Mount Isa
· 10 community-based crime action committees, sharing $2 million to develop local community-based solutions.