29 Jan Cut crime or cough up the cash: KAP
Katter’s Australian Party has today revealed the bold third tier of its North Queensland crime plan, announcing the party will pursue legislation that enables crime victims in offence-riddled regions to claim compensation from the State Government for damages.
Under the scheme, standard rates of compensation for various offences would be payable by law to affected people in “crime hotspots” where the State Government has continuously failed in its duty of care to the community.
For example, victims could claim:
- $1,000 if their car is damaged or broken into;
- $2,500 if their car is stolen;
- $5,000 if their home or business is broken into.
“Crime hotspots” would be declared via a formulaic method that compares state-wide offence averages with those in locations with high, and unrelenting, violent and property crime rates.
The party will propose that if communities have for at least six consecutive months experienced crime rates for relevant offences that are 25 per cent higher than the state’s average, victims would be able to claim damages.
KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said using this method, residents affected by crime in most major cities in North Queensland would immediately qualify.
He said according to Queensland Police Service data, in December the state-wide average rate for unlawful entry offences was 59.48 per 100,000 people.
In Cairns it was 98.60, in Townsville it was 132.41 and in Mount Isa it was an incredible 292.68.
In Townsville alone 318 unlawful entry offences were reported in December, an average of 10 per day.
Based on these figures under the KAP’s proposal, the State Government would be up for compensation worth millions of dollars for just a single month in one city.
Mr Katter said he was not a fan of litigation for litigation sake, but enough was enough.
“Despite their rhetoric, Labor appeared to have no interest in trying to find solutions that will actually reduce crime rates in the North,” he said.
“Rather they keep hiding behind their failing five-point action plan and a vague want for ‘evidence-based measures’ as an excuse for inaction.”
The Traeger MP said the KAP had evidence to show nothing motivated the Brisbane-based State Government like the threat of money being taken away from its pet areas in the south-east.
“We think with the threat of less money to feed into their south-east Queensland electorates and over-inflated bureaucracy in 1 William Street, they’ll be far more willing to try new solutions that might actually stop crime and turn these kids into useful members of the community,” he said.
KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said the crime spree experienced in Townsville over the Christmas period reinforced the fact that young offenders did not fear consequences and the court system was failing to enforce suitable punishments.
From mid-December to mid-January, more than 1,600 offences were recorded in the Townsville Local Government area, which included a carjacking involving a firearm, and a 21-year-old who carried out multiple caravan park robberies and car thefts.
“Ultimately we want the crime rate reduced and that will require the Government to be incentivised to behave differently,” Mr Dametto said.
“There’s a lot of examples where the Government sees fit to use financial punishment to incentivise behaviour of Queenslanders, like new penalties under the Government’s moronic reef regulations and land clearing laws, so they should be willing to live by the same principle themselves.”
Earlier this month the KAP announced the first two tiers of its crime reduction policy, including introducing mandatory minimum sentencing for repeat offenders, and an immediate trial of the KAP’s Relocation Sentencing policy. The crime hotspot litigation approach forms the third tier.
Mr Katter said the party would pursue its new policies formally when Queensland Parliament resumed next month.