‘People say we’re too tough’: Premier defends youth crime record

The Queensland government has defended its youth crime laws following a string of offences and an overflowing detention centre.

Aug 19, 2021, updated Aug 19, 2021
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended her government's record on young offenders. Photo: EPA

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended her government's record on young offenders. Photo: EPA

Teenagers were among 16 young offenders being held at watch-houses across Mount Isa, Cairns and Townsville as the latter city’s Cleveland Youth Detention Centre reached capacity earlier this week.

Some would be held in custody pending advice from authorities, before being allocated to a youth detention centre, and others would be bailed, a police spokesperson said.

“We put in tough laws and we were criticised by introducing those laws, some people said they were too tough,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Thursday.

“Of course we are concerned about juvenile crime.

“Hopefully … magistrates will definitely take into account those new laws and keep the troubled people off the streets.”

The premier added that a home invasion at the suburban Brisbane property of Wallabies star Touti Kefu, which left multiple people injured, was also concerning.

Two 15-year-old boys and a 13-year-old are facing charges over that incident.

But Palaszczuk said her government was not considering tougher laws for youths found with weapons.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli again called for a reinstatement of the breach-of-bail offence.

He said the government continue to defend a broken system that is failing to combat youth crime and that a trial of GPS tracking was yet to show results.

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“To hear the premier say that people she speaks to say that the laws are too tough. Well that’s concerning,” he told reporters.

“The honest Queenslanders I’m listening to, they don’t believe the laws are too tough, they just want their suburbs back.

“As of this morning, there are zero young offenders fitted with a GPS tracker, and in the three months trial there has been zero young offenders fitted in the first place.”

Federal MP Robbie Katter offered an option, urging the government to fund a trial which would give sentencing magistrates and judges the option to send youth offenders to a remote, rehabilitative-focused facility, such as at Kajabbi, 800km west of Townsville.

The need has never been greater in North Queensland for innovative policy shifts that … address the relentless crime issues plaguing our communities,” Katter said.

Kefu and two of his family have left hospital after Monday’s home invasion.

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