The State and Federal governments must co-fund a new youth detention centre or back Katter’s Australian Party’s relocation sentencing policy, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.
Mr Dametto said news today that the watch-house was being used to temporarily house young offenders because Cleveland Youth Detention Centre was full left the State Labor Government with two clear options.
“They can either spend money building a regular detention centre to keep these young criminals off our streets or look at alternative sentencing options like the KAP’s relocation sentencing policy that could house these offenders at a fraction of the cost in the middle of nowhere,” Mr Dametto said.
“The State Government is struggling to balance the books going into this year’s State budget and I doubt the money is going to be there to fund something like a regular bricks and razor wire detention centre, unless the Federal Government is willing to put their hand into their pocket to stump up the cash. The KAP’s relocation sentencing facility could built a fraction of the cost.”
A young person in a Queensland detention centre costs the State about $530,000 per year or $1455 per day. Under the KAP’s proposed relocation sentencing structure, the cost per detainee would be about $90,000 per year cheaper using donga-style accommodation while its remote location would make up part of the security measures necessary.
“Labor MPs can keep trying to convince themselves that its weak youth justice policies are working but anyone in Townsville will tell you otherwise. Night after night, we see law-abiding citizens have their lives ruined by young thugs who have no fear of any consequences for their actions,” Mr Dametto said.
“For months, we’ve heard the LNP go on about how making breach of bail an offence was their silver bullet solution to fixing all youth crime in Queensland. We heard MPs from their party condemn Labor during the debate over the Youth Justice Bill for their removal of breach of bail as an offence and reinstatement of detention as a last resort.
“Yet, when it came to changing the law so a detention order could be a first option instead of the last to get these kids off our streets, the LNP seemed happy with the status quo and voted with Labor. The major parties are no better than each other when it comes to tackling youth crime.”
Mr Dametto said relocation sentencing “would help break the cycle when it comes to youth crime, where young offenders spend most of their time bouncing in and out of juvenile detention”.
“This is an opportunity to institute genuine reform of young offenders through instilling strict discipline and learning life skills so when they reintegrate back into society, they’ll be on the right path,” he said.