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Local News

Youth Justice Boost For Cairns And Townsville

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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.”