Local News

Youth Justice Boost For Cairns And Townsville

CC0 Public Domain 

Cairns and Townsville have rated a mention in the 2019-20 State Budget for Queensland’s youth justice system.

Minister for Youth Di Farmer said funds had been allocated to a range of initiatives across the whole sector aimed at reducing reoffending, as well as expanding, building and staffing new youth detention centre capacity, for a total investment of more than $550 million in youth justice reforms since 2017.

“The latest part of that package, an investment of $332.5 million as outlined in the 2019-20 Budget, will fund more services and initiatives to deliver real change, build safer communities and provide positive futures for Queensland’s youth,” she said.

“This Budget shows how serious this Government is about changing the story for young people including last month (May) establishing a Department of Youth Justice headed by Director-General Bob Gee.

“We are also investing in programs that the evidence shows work, including the Townsville Community Youth Response, Transition 2 Success and Restorative Justice which help drive down re-offending.”

Highlights from the 2019-20 Budget for the Department of Youth Justice includes:

  • $27 million to construct 16 new beds at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre plus $14.2 million over four years for its operation from 2020-21
  • $150 million to construct a new 32 bed youth detention centre at Wacol
  • $27.5 million over four years to enhance restorative practice including Restorative Justice Conferencing and Family Group Meetings.
  • $28.7 million over four years to expand on the successful Transition 2 Success (T2S) program and support young people to reconnect with education, training, employment and life skills.
  • $29.3 million over four years to support the Townsville Community Youth Response and establish three new three new Community Youth Response initiatives to address youth crime hotspots in Brisbane, Ipswich and Cairns.
  • $2.6 million over three years to continue existing conditional bail programs, which will also be supported by Queensland Police Service community-based supervision for high-risk youths on bail in South East Queensland.
  • $2.7 million over four years and $200,000 per annum ongoing to support multi-agency response teams and dynamic risk assessments for court. This will be further supported by appointing an additional magistrate and implementing efficiencies in court processes.
  • $829,000 to establish a hub in Mount Isa delivering after hours diversionary services to high risk young people.

Ms Farmer said $159.8 million has been invested in the new Department of Youth Justice to implement the first whole-of-government Youth Justice Strategy.

“The community expects young people to be accountable for their actions, but they also don’t want to see young people re-offending,” she said.

“We are also providing additional funding of $8.1 million in 2019-20 to provide frontline and frontline support positions to enhance the operations of Queensland’s two existing youth detention centres.

“This is a budget which delivers on our commitment to the community and to our young people, to intervene early, keep children out of court and custody and reducing reoffending.”

The Queensland Government also unveiled a record Police Budget.

A total of $2.6 billion has been allocated for the Queensland Police Service’s operating and capital budget spending.

It demonstrates the government’s commitment to delivering the frontline services that Queenslanders need.

Among the budget highlights, additional funding has been allocated to make Queensland’s unique Taskforce Orion a permanent fixture in the Queensland Police Service.

Taskforce Orion in conjunction with Taskforce Argos leads the world in hunting down on-line child sexual abuse predators and setting free the victims.

A further $2.3 million over the next four years and ongoing funding of $685,000 a year will be allocated to integrate Taskforce Orion permanently into the QPS Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group to tackle the making and distribution of child exploitation material in Queensland.

There’s also additional funding to continue the boost to Police efforts to combat organised crime and Outlaw Motorcycle gangs.

Taskforce Maxima has led the way tackling organised crime so that more than a quarter of bikies are now behind bars.

And there are no bikie clubhouses operating in Queensland anymore.

Five million dollars has been committed to tackling organised crime and Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCG).

Capabilities will also be enhanced to target alcohol-fuelled violence and the drug ice.

Funding in the 2019-20 budget includes $28 million to continue work on the Counter-Terrorism and Community Safety Training Centre at Wacol with a further allocation to increase Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) numbers in Brisbane and Cairns.

The government has allocated $10.8 million to complete a new police facility in Arundel and $4.9 million to continue work on a replacement police facility at Pormpuraaw.

Increased funding of $1.8 million has also been allocated to the highly successful Project Booyah (Framing the Future) initiative to provide community-based youth support and mentorship across nine locations throughout Queensland.

The award winning Project Booyah is making a real difference, turning young people’s lives around, getting them back into education and work, and keeping them out of detention.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the funding in this budget would be used by the QPS to enhance their ability to keep Queenslanders safe.

“Increasing the ability of our hardworking QPS officers to address crime and harm in the community is a top priority for the Palaszczuk Government,” he said.

“This additional funding that we are providing covers a significant cross-section of the organisation and will allow our officers to continue to serve the community and reduce crime and harm.

“We are also committed to upgrading police facilities for our police which will enhance working conditions and service delivery for communities right across Queensland.

“Work on the Counter-Terrorism and Community Safety Training Centre at Wacol continues, and we look forward to it opening next year to provide our officers with a world-class training facility.

“Further investment by the Government in infrastructure projects for the QPS will see our officers equipped with modern facilities that will enhance the ability for them to serve the community,” Minister Ryan said.