Palaszczuk Government announces historic new investment in Youth Justice reform

Published Tuesday, 30 April, 2019 at 01:01 PM

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government today announced a record investment in Queensland’s youth justice system.

The government will spend more than $320 million expanding, building and staffing new youth detention centres, as well a range of initiatives across the whole sector aimed at reducing reoffending.

This brings to a total investment of $550 million in Youth Justice reforms since the transition of 17 year olds to the Youth Justice System.

Centrepieces of the strategy include:

  • The construction of a new 32 bed youth detention centre at Wacol, at an estimated total cost of approximately $150 million;
  • $27 million to build 16 more beds at the existing Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.
  • Community youth responses to crime hotspots in three locations – Brisbane, Ipswich and Cairns;
  • Enhanced youth and family wellbeing in partnership with Indigenous Family Wellbeing Services;
  • A transitional hub to divert young people from police custody in Mount Isa;
  • Community-based supervision by Queensland Police for high risk young people on bail in South East Queensland;
  • Eight specialist multi-agency response teams;
  • Extension of funding for an additional Specialist Children’s Court Magistrate;
  • A Queensland Youth Partnership Initiative with the retail sector to divert young people from crime; and
  • Continue the Townsville Community Response including the High-Risk Youth Court, After Hours Youth Diversion Services and Cultural Mentoring

Ms Farmer said the reforms were the next step in implementing the Palaszczuk Government’s Youth Justice Strategy which was announced last year.

“This investment will expand the current statewide capacity from 254 beds to 302 beds, ensuring we have better and safer conditions for young people in detention and our YDC staff,” she said.

“Our focus remains on reducing offending rates and preventing young people ever needing to be place in detention,” she said.

“We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result – we need to invest in programs and initiatives which work.

“For example, we’re providing $28.7 million over four years to expand our Transition 2 Success program, which helps young people into the workforce or back to school, and a further $27 million to expand restorative justice programs.

“There is good evidence to show that these programs work to prevent re-offending.

“Of the young people who go through Transition 2 Success programs or Restorative Justice conferencing, almost 6 out of 10 don’t go on to reoffend.

“More than that, we are seeing young people become productive members of society, undertaking education or getting jobs.

“These programs aren’t just cutting rates of reoffending, they’re actually changing the story for these young

The Palaszczuk Government’s Youth Justice Strategy was developed last year and is based on the ‘four pillars’ recommended by Mr Bob Atkinson AO APM in his Report on Youth Justice.

The four pillars are to intervene early, keep children out of court, keep children out of custody and reduce reoffending.

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.

An action plan to support the Strategy is scheduled to be released mid-2019.

Media contact: 
Cat Milton 0447 117 132