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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    New Court part of Townsville youth crime response

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    New Court part of Townsville youth crime response

    A new Specialist High Risk Youth Court will hold its first sittings in Townsville next week as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s response to youth crime and its causes.

    Speaking from Townsville Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Court sittings on February 2 would coincide with a legal stakeholders’ summit in Townsville led by the Queensland Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo.

    “The court will deal with young repeat offenders, who will see the same magistrate each time they go before the court,” she said.

    “Magistrates will be applying penalties that fit their crime. The Court’s sentencing options will ensure young offenders give back to the community, will prioritise sentencing options that ensure young people are giving back to the community.

    “For example, where a young person has committed property damage, the magistrate will be able to consider an order where the offender must help fix the damage they caused.

    “It is important that young offenders are held to account for their behaviour and the offences they commit.”

    The Premier said the court was a crucial plank in the broader Community Youth Response championed by local MPs and the Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke and developed across government agencies and in response to community input.

    “This is part of our broader, comprehensive strategy to address youth crime in Townsville, make young people accountable for their actions, and break the cycle of re-offending.”

    Children’s Court Magistrate in Queensland Leanne O’Shea will hear all matters for the first four to six weeks, before Townsville magistrates take over in the long-term.  She will also be in attendance at the Chief Magistrate’s Summit on February 2, which will include stakeholders ranging from youth justice workers and legal aid solicitors, to police prosecutors and magistrates.

    “The summit will outline how the court will work, which will ensure a coordinated approach to addressing youth offending in the community,” the Premier said.

    “My Government is committed to addressing the crime issues in Townsville, and ensuring the safety and security of Townsville residents.”

    The Townsville Stronger Communities Action Group is aimed at breaking the cycle of youth crime by dealing with the underlying causes.

    Led by Inspector Glenn Doyle from the Queensland Police Service, the multi-agency group is made up of senior staff from the departments of Justice and Attorney-General; Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services; Health; Housing; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships; and Education and Training.

    The group is working closely with families to address issues that underpin youth offending, including family dysfunction, homelessness, substance abuse and lack of engagement with schooling.

    This involves working across the government and non-government sectors coordinating services for young people and their families who have been identified as being at risk. It will also provide support to young adults.

    Since forming, the group has engaged with more than 30 families, involving around 70 family members, to work on and resolve issues such as housing matters, absence of positive parenting, and complex mental health concerns.

    Earlier this week, Police Minister Mark Ryan announced more than $7 million in funding for an early intervention youth program in Queensland.

    The award-winning Project Booyah will be allocated $7.365 million over the next five years to deliver the life-changing program in Cairns, Townsville, Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Redcliffe/Caboolture, Pine Rivers, Redlands, Logan and the Gold Coast.

    Media Contact: Geoff Breusch 0417 272 875