23 Feb KAP calls out Labor’s crime response as PR stunt
Katter’s Australian Party MPs remain deeply concerned crime will only continue to fester under the Queensland Government’s “sweeping” youth justice reforms, following an announcement this morning by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
The party will continue to push for bolder reforms including legislation to impose a presumption against bail for youths charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle, and for the state to trial a third youth sentencing option in the form of the KAP’s proposed Relocation Sentencing policy.
The KAP also agrees “breach of bail” should be re-introduced as an offence for young criminals and that there should be extensive reviews into the operations of the departments of Housing, Families and Child Safety, Communities and Youth Justice.
KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter labelled the Labor State Government’s announcement today as a well-crafted PR response to the state’s dire youth crime crisis.
He said he, and many in the North, do not believe the newly-minted seven-point plan would be effective in controlling the crisis.
“The KAP is relieved to see some action on these issues after many years of the warning the State Government that we, especially in the North, were fast approaching a crisis situation,” he said.
“We are deeply disappointed, and I would say quite angry, that it has come to the loss of four innocent lives in a little over a week to finally bring about these changes.
“Last year we saw four young kids die in Townsville after the stolen car they were travelling in crashed – that should have been enough.”
Mr Katter said he, and his KAP colleagues, would stand by their threat to move a ‘vote of no confidence’ against the Palaszczuk Labor Government if the new anti-crime legislation was not moved during the first sitting week of the year, and further options laid out on the table.
He said the State Government, and all its departments, needed to have a long hard look at the ways in which its failed policies had led to the current state-of-affairs.
“We must remember that legislative actions – such as those announced today – are only targeted at treating the ‘symptoms’ of the youth crime crisis we have on our hands,” Mr Katter said.
“Much more work needs to be done across all sectors of our community to treat the ‘causes’, and that will need to be addressed aggressively but patiently in the long-term.
“This needs to include looking at generational unemployment and welfare dependency, drug and alcohol abuse and barriers to getting into work, particularly for our First Australians.”
As reported this morning by the Courier Mail, the Premier has today announced a seven new crime-fighting measures.
This includes: 1) empowering courts to require the fitting of GPS trackers on recidivist high risk offenders aged 16 and 17 as a condition of bail. The trackers will be trialled only in the following regions: Moreton, north Brisbane, Townsville, Logan and the Gold Coast, and offenders under the age of 16 are excluded.
Mr Katter said he was disappointed that Mount Isa, which has per capita the highest crime rates in the state, had been left out of trial that would see GPS trackers fitted on recidivist, high-risk offenders.
2) There will also now be a presumption against bail for youth offenders for certain offences, including breaking and entering, serious sexual assault and armed robbery.
The KAP is concerned this limited application will return high-risk offenders, particularly those with a history of stealing motor vehicles and hooning, to the streets so they can re-offend and pose further risk to the community.
3) Under Labor’s reforms, courts will be allowed to seek assurances from parents and guardians that youth offenders will comply with bail conditions before they are released.
4) Police will also be armed with metal detecting wands in a bid to target knife crime on the Gold Coast.
5) A parliamentary inquiry will be held to examine the implementation of remote engine immobilisers for vehicles.
6) The Youth Justice Act will be amended to include a reference to the community being protected from recidivist youth offenders. The Government will also enshrine in legislation the existing common law principle that offending whilst on bail is an aggravating circumstance when an individual is being sentenced.
7) Anti-hooning laws will be strengthened, making the owners of the vehicle responsible unless it has been reported stolen or the owner identifies another driver.