New board to increase community service projects for young offenders
Published Wednesday, 28 August, 2019 at 02:03 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 has moved to implement a key recommendation from Major General Stuart Smith’s report into Townsville crime, with the creation of a new community-based board.
Minister for Youth Di Farmer said the Youth Offender Accountability Board, which met this morning, has been tasked with ensuring young offenders are giving back to Townsville residents through practical and meaningful projects.
“Major General Stuart Smith recommended in his report that we create this board as part of the Townsville community’s efforts to address youth crime,” she said.
“Throughout his consultations with the Townsville community, it was very clear that the community wanted to have a say in the what kinds of projects young people on community orders should do.
“This board will deliver on that recommendation by identifying suitable projects for young people undertake, which will help keep young offenders accountable, help them develop a sense of responsibility, and give them opportunities to contribute positively to their community.”
Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the 16-member board comprises community, business, non-for-profit sector and government representatives, and is chaired by the regional director of the Department of Youth Justice.
“The Department of Youth Justice will work very closely with the board to follow up on suggested opportunities and proposals put forward by the board,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“However, we need the support of the Townsville community to make this work.
“We’re always looking for not-for-profit groups to partner with that want to offer community service work, so I encourage anyone who needs some work done that these young people can do, please get in touch with the Department of Youth Justice.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the projects were about more than providing young people the opportunity to give back to the community.
“Picking up basic job skills means these young people are less likely to reoffend, especially if it means they can get into the workforce and start earning.
“We know that the best way to reduce crime is by getting young people a job.”
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said an upcoming audit of community service operations in Townsville would also help make sure the community service system in Townsville is achieving results for young people and the community.
“When these results are in, the Youth Offender Accountability Board will work with the Department of Youth Justice to make any changes needed so that the Townsville community gets the best value from our community service system,” Mr Stewart said.
“Reducing youth crime requires a whole-of-community effort, and this is a direct way for Townsville representatives to get involved in achieving that goal.”
Over the past 12 months, community service work performed by young offenders included removing graffiti, clearing rubbish, assisting marine park rangers, maintaining junior sporting facilities and public parks and gardens, and helping non-for-profit groups with flood recovery.
Organisations and groups represented include:
- Townsville Crime Committee
- Bindal Sharks United Training and Employment
- Activate One/North 360
- Saltner Consulting
- Community Gro
- Townsville City Council
- Townsville State High School, and
- Department of Youth Justice.
Media Contact: Cat Milton 0447 117 132