AN exasperated Bob Katter has come out asking why the State Government hasn’t acted on the youth crime situation that has gripped North and Far North Queensland for more than three years, after two 12-year-old girls were charged with arson following a fire that gutted a Mareeba mechanical business.
Mr Katter has spoken to the owners of Performance Motors, Kevin and Lucy Dunn, who have suffered more than $2m in damage from the fire.
“My thoughts are with the Dunn’s who have lost so much, but every person is asking themselves why the State Government haven’t acted?” Mr Katter said.
“This is a tragedy that occurred here in Mareeba, and it comes on top of the children and young woman that died in Townsville. We can’t keep going along with this. The Magistrates hands are tied. They need another option.”
Mr Katter has called on the State Labor Government to immediately adopt the KAP’s relocation sentencing policy as law, which he believes would turn the situation around.
Under the policy, Magistrates would be given the option to send juvenile offenders to relocation centres in remote locations such as Coen or Kajabbi.
There the youth would learn life skills such as bricklaying, fencing, cooking, house building, horse-riding, and fruit and vegetable farming.
Mr Katter said the proposal was based on the old First Australian law of banishment.
“The law of banishment said if you played up you’d be sent into the bush to fend for yourself, and you could only come back when you were prepared to act like a human being,” he said.
“The State Government can’t give me one single reason why they won’t introduce relocation sentencing which was the law here 250 years ago.
“Those two girls who are alleged to have caused this fire will cost the taxpayers $540,000 a year if they are in youth detention. Relocation sentencing will cost about $70,000 a year. But we will send a miscreant out there and get back a person that can go into society, and they will have skills.
“Why won’t the State Government do it? Because they’re a bunch of incompetents who would rather pander to the media. Their welcome to country speeches are hollow because they don’t really care about the people.”