'Come to Cherbourg': MP responds to crime strategy
MEMBER for Nanango Deb Frecklington has called on Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to visit Cherbourg and Murgon following the release of Queensland's first Youth Justice Strategy.
The Working Together Changing the Story 2019-2023 strategy aims to provide a framework to reduce offending, reduce re-offending and address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the youth justice system.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said 59 per cent of young people who completed a restorative justice conference also did not re-offend within six months.
Opposition leader, Deb Frecklington, has called on the premier to see the programs first hand.
"I invite the premier out to Murgon and to sit in a couple of these conferences, whether it is via video link or sitting in front of one these youth offenders, and see how effective that program really is," she said.
Ms Frecklington would also like to see the premier visit other regional areas.
"Cherbourg is one of the most disadvantaged communities in Queensland and when I try to speak up about what that community needs the premier accuses me of playing politics," she said.
"How about she gets out there and she actually does something about some of these kids, particularly in regional areas, in the Gold Coast, Townsville and South Burnett, that actually need support around what their lives are like so they don't get pushed into a life of crime."
The Queensland Government has identified the goal of reducing offending by five per cent by 2022 but Ms Frecklington believes this is not enough.
"We can not take a feather duster to this issue, we have to be serious about it," she said.
"We can not look at targets of five per cent by 2022, that is laughable.
"Let's get tough on these kids, if they are going to do the crime they have to do the time."
The strategy is based on four pillars, intervene early, keep children out of court, keep children out of custody and reduce re-offending, recommended by Mr Bob Atkinson in his Report on Youth Justice.
"The safety of our community is paramount, and Queenslanders have the right to feel confident that they are safe," Ms Farmer said.
"The community expects young people to be accountable for their actions, and so do we.
"The community also doesn't want to see young people re-offending."
One of the key elements of the strategy is to ensure strong engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to support them to come up with their own solutions.
Ms Farmer said change would require everyone to play a part in supporting and influencing the lives of children and young people.
"Change will take time, but there are lots of positive things happening right now that we can build on to improve the outcomes for families, communities and our young people," she said.