Crime response for Cairns and across Queensland

We know the community wants more action by government, we’ve heard their message loud and clear. Although statistics show crime is slowly on the decrease, we know that any level of crime is unacceptable and that there is a cohort of serious, repeat youth offenders who are causing real and significant harm to the community. 

If there was a simple answer to this complex issue, it would not be the issue it is. It's complex. We need extensive, detailed and well-funded programs to address crime rates across Cairns and the rest of the State.  

The Palaszczuk government have invested more than half a billion dollars since 2017 in our Youth Justice System. We are implementing programs that hold young people to account but also to give them an opportunity to change their lives including:

 

In addition, we are putting more police on the ground - the Palaszczuk Government has committed to the biggest boost to policing in Queensland in three decades. We have also built more Youth Detention Centre (YDC) beds, boosting capacity by 33% from 230 beds to 306.  

We introduced tough new laws in Feb 2021 for youth repeat offenders, and we are seeing the number of offenders and number of offences reduce since being implemented. These laws included:

  • Creating a Presumption Against Bail for youth offenders arrested for committing further serious indictable offences while on bail; and

  • Seeking assurances from parents and guardians that bail conditions will be complied with before an offender is released

  • Providing the court with an additional tool - electronic monitoring devices as a condition of bail for repeat offenders aged 16 or 17 (prescribed indictable offence) presently under going trial in Townsville, Nth Brisbane, Moreton, Logan and Gold Coast

  • Strengthened bail laws to provide further guidance to the courts – community to be protected from recidivist youth offenders - Charter of Youth Justice principles.

  • Codified existing common law principle - offending while on bail is an aggravating factor when sentencing.

 

Outcome from the new laws Feb 2021 reforms took effect in April last year:

  • We’re seeing 70% of young offenders being held in custody or pleading guilty

  • There have been up to 100 more young people held in custody since the reforms were introduced;

  • More are in custody, and are being held for longer

  • Co-responder model-leading the country and other jurisdictions interested – over 16,000 engagements

  • Toughest youth bail laws in the country

  • Electronic Monitoring Devices (EMD) - early days - option for the Courts – but clearly seeing young people remanded in custody instead

  • Early intervention work is also having an effect with a decline of youth coming into the system in general while we are toughening our stance, we are also increasing our support to help them change their lives for the better.
     

We know there’s still more work to do, but we are seeing the number of offenders and number of offences reduce. We know there is no quick fix, no silver bullet to fix youth crime but we also know these initiatives are working - We’ve seen a 30% drop in the number of young offenders across the state since 2010. But what we do have is a cohort of 10% of young offenders committing 48% of the crime and in some cases the risks they take are escalating.

It's important to note, that the LNP refused to release annual crime statistics when they were in government. They didn’t want people to know what was happening in their neighbourhood. The Palaszczuk Government changed that. We are talking about, and addressing crime. 

If you have any questions, feedback or ideas on tackling crime, please don't hesitate to contact my local office by emailing barron.river@parliament.qld.gov.au