17 May WA shows vital ticker on youth crime issue
The Palaszczuk Government needs to put its ego aside and agree to trial the kind of alternative sentencing options, such as ‘on-country sentencing’, for recidivist youth offenders that are being spear-headed in other states, Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has said.
Yesterday, The Australian reported that Western Australia’s Labor State Government would send male youth offenders aged 14 to 17 to the remote, Indigenous-owned Myroodah pastoral station to serve their sentences and to be put to work.
The approach is being described as an “alternative to the state’s malfunctioning children’s prison” and is designed to address the unprecedented youth crime wave plaguing WA’s Kimberley region.
Mr Katter said WA’s experience with youth crime was shared across the entirety of northern Australia and, in Queensland, it was eroding liveability in rural communities as well as the city centres of Cairns, Townsville and Mount Isa.
The KAP has long called for their Relocation Sentencing model, which shares a great deal of similarity with the new approach announced by WA, to be trialled in Queensland as an alternative to incarceration for recidivist youth offenders.
But to date, the State Government has refused to investigate the policy with Queensland Minister for Children and Youth Justice Leanne Linard most recently lambasting it during Question Time for being designed to “send young people away” and not being “evidence-based”.
Mr Katter said the delivery of overall net-positive economic benefits to the State from the 2032 Brisbane Games was not evidence-based, but the Government was willing to take a risk on that event and sign Queenslanders up for at least a $17.8 billion dollar spend to stage it.
He said the Government’s priorities were astonishing.
“Even in the midst of a crime wave of inexplicable proportions – 555 cars stolen this year in Cairns, 490 in Townsville and 50 alone in little old Mount Isa, a town of 20,000 people – the Palaszczuk Labor Government is refusing to acknowledge alternate solutions to the problem unless they are their own,” the Traeger MP said.
“The arrogance is breath-taking and it is the people of Queensland who are suffering as a result of their short-sightedness.
“I don’t often comment on inter-state politics, but good on the WA Labor Government for showing the gall on this issue that their Queensland counterparts appear unable to muster.”
Today, the KAP formally called for the next Federal Government to stump up the funds for a new Relocation Sentencing facility to be built in North West Queensland.
However the facility could only be opened, and become operational, once approved by the State Government.