Qld opposition backs youth crime hearings

·2-min read

Queensland's opposition leaders says if the the state government is serious about tackling youth crime, it will take on the recommendations from communities across the state.

Parliamentary hearings are being held for community members to come forward and voice their opinion on the ongoing issue of youth crime in Queensland.

Speaking in Townsville on Wednesday, LNP leader David Crisafulli said the impact of youth crime on communities needs to be heard and it starts with the government making breach of bail an offence.

"I don't want the government to go through a box-ticking exercise, and then nothing comes of it," Mr Crisafulli said.

"We've seen a series of reforms put forward and we say we are willing to back them, but we know and the people of towns will know that more needs to be done.

"We are asking for the committee to look at, investigate, and act on breach of bail. Breach of bail must be a criminal offence."

Mr Crisafulli spoke alongside party police spokesman Dale Last, who has witnessed a significant six-month rise in youth crime in Townsville.

"Unlawful use of a motor vehicle up 35 per cent, assaults 11 per cent, sexual offences 12 per cent, drug offences 8 per cent," he said.

"That paints a picture of what's going on in this community and indicates and reinforces just how much more work needs to be done in that space.

"If the government's fair dinkum about addressing youth crime in this city, they will take on board the evidence given at those hearings and make the necessary adjustments to things like a breach of bail, which we've been calling on for some time."

The importance of the hearings cannot be undervalued, with the opposition leader adding first-hand accounts from locals should send a clear message to the government about what changes need to be made.

He says he will be the first to acknowledge the Labor government if it makes the necessary changes to youth crime laws in the state.

Children and Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard says committee hearings are important platforms for the community and their additional measures on youth justice laws are evidenced based.

"The hearings are a meaningful process for community to engage, and the government absolutely listens," Ms Linard said.

"If it makes sense and we can improve things, we will. We know through clear advice and evidence that what does work is if a young person offends while on bail, the court can take that into account now.

"But also in our recently announced additional measures we are making sure that (breach of bail) is considered an aggravating circumstance in certain situations."