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(QUEENSLAND) JUST IN: Lawmakers in Parliament has passed contentious new youth justice legislation that is set to become law in a bid to “crack down” on recidivist young offenders, despite concerns raised by advocates #AceNewsDesk report


#AceNewsReport – Apr.23: The new measures were introduced to combat youth crime, after the deaths of expectant parents Kate Leadbetter and Matthew Field and Townsville woman Jennifer Board earlier this year ABC News reported:

Queensland passes new youth justice legislation in crime crackdown aimed at ‘hardcore’ young offenders: ‘The legislation includes a trial of GPS monitoring devices, strengthened anti-hooning laws, increased police powers and reversing the presumption of bail for serious indictable offences’

Posted 4h ago

Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane looking through front fence with the top of the Executive Annexe in the background.
The youth justice bill, which passed through Parliament House on Thursday, is set to become law.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

While Queensland police welcomed the move, youth justice advocates expressed alarm, saying the laws would be ineffective, were a “knee-jerk reaction” and risked pushing some young people further to the margins.

Minister for Police and Corrective Services Mark Ryan told Parliament the measures target recidivist young offenders:

“We’re coming down hard on those who would do harm to the community,” he said.

“We are arming the police and the courts with the tools to crack down harder on that 10 per cent cohort of hardcore youth offenders.”

The state government amended its bill during the debate, making it a requirement for judges to keep young people who have been ordered to wear a monitoring device in custody until they can be fitted.

‘Bill falls a long way short’

The Liberal National Party supported the bill but failed to move amendments that would see child offenders treated the same as adults for breaching conditions of bail.

“We believe that the provisions of the Bail Act should apply equally to adults and children,” Shadow Minister for Police and Corrective Services Dale Last told Parliament.

Queensland Greens leader Amy McMahon speaks to the media in Brisbane.
Queensland Greens MP Amy MacMahon says the bill will further marginalise the state’s most vulnerable children.(AAP: Regi Varghese)

“We have juvenile offenders running around the state committing offences at will, disregarding conditions of their bail undertaking and thumbing their noses at the law,” he said:

“This bill falls a long way short of addressing the youth crime issue plaguing this state.”

Mr Ryan told Parliament that breach of bail had never been an offence for children.

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) also said the bill needed to go further and attempted, but failed, to move amendments.

“I’ve observed a sharp increase in people coming through my electorate office saying, ‘What are you doing about this?'” KAP leader Robbie Katter said.

He said constituents had told him stories of an 80-year-old mother who had been broken into five times and “strangled by a young kid”, another who had been repeatedly broken into and a butcher shop being smashed up.

The two Greens MPs opposed the bill, with Member for South Brisbane Amy McMahon telling Parliament: “The cohort of kids that will be most impacted by this bill are some of the most vulnerable in Queensland.”

“What this Labor government are doing is putting GPS monitors on children and making it easier for them to be immediately jailed — further marginalising these already vulnerable kids and trapping them in a cycle of criminalisation and re-offending,” she said.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Apr.23: 2021:

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