Tough new Youth Justice reforms introduced to Parliament

Published Thursday, 25 February, 2021 at 05:38 PM

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan

The State Government has introduced a comprehensive package of Youth Justice reforms that will target hardcore youth criminals who repeatedly offend and put the community at risk.

Under the reforms introduced to Parliament today, courts will get more powers allowing them to:

  • Require Fitting of Electronic monitoring devices (GPS Trackers)

As a condition of bail for recidivist high risk offenders aged 16 and 17

  • Create a Presumption Against Bail

For youth offenders arrested for committing further serious indictable offences (eg breaking and entering) while on bail

  • Seek assurances from parents and guardians

That bail conditions will be complied with before an offender is released

The government will also strengthen existing bail laws to provide further guidance to the courts.

The Youth Justice Act will be amended to include a reference to the community being protected from recidivist youth offenders in the Charter of Youth Justice Principles

The government is also enshrining in legislation the principle that offending whilst on bail is an aggravating circumstance when the court is imposing a sentence.

To prevent crime:

  • Police will be given enhanced powers to use metal detecting wands to target  knife crime on the Gold Coast
  • Anti-hooning laws will be strengthened to hold the registered owner of a vehicle responsible except where the vehicle is stolen or the owner can identify another driver and
  • A parliamentary inquiry will examine the implementation of remote engine immobilisers

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the government had listened to the community and was acting decisively.

“This is about targeting the hardcore repeat offenders – those 10 per cent of youth offenders who are frequently putting the community at risk.

“That is why we are making these changes to bail laws.

“Ten per cent of all youth offenders account for 48 per cent of all youth crime.

“It is this group we will target with all the legislative and front-line strategies at our disposal.”

The Police Minister also said it was important to understand the false commentary from the LNP.

“The LNP has claimed they will “bring back breach of bail”.

“The fact is, however, “breach of bail” never existed under the previous LNP Government.

“There are many ways to breach bail.

“Failure to comply with a curfew, failure to reside at an approved address.

“None of these breaches were ever an offence under the Newman Government – only committing an offence while on bail.

“The fact is the previous Newman LNP Government introduced an unworkable law called “Committing an offence while on bail”.

“This law did not work as a deterrent and was not regularly used by the courts given it was so ineffective.

“In fact, the offender would, as a consequence of the LNP’s law, receive a lesser penalty as the court could not treat an offence committed on bail as “circumstance of aggravation”.

Youth Justice Minister, Leanne Linard, said the new measures build on the Government’s five-point action plan announced in March last year, with $550 million in Youth Justice reforms already underway.

“Those reforms have led to a 23% decrease in the numbers of youth offenders.

“For example, our Transition 2 Success Program has a 67 per cent success rate.

“About 187 young people have attended and 67 per cent have not re-offended”

“Former Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson will report on the efficacy of the measures in six months.”

Media contacts 

Minister Ryan’s Office: Ph: (07) 3035 8300