Community project to focus on preventing car theft in Townsville

Published Wednesday, 08 March, 2023 at 09:12 AM

Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • Six-week intensive youth crime prevention and education program starts this week.
  • The Deterring Drivers program is funded through the Palaszczuk Government’s Community Partnership Innovation Grants.
  • Led by an Australian Catholic University criminologist, drawing on expertise from policing, psychology, road safety and health.

A new program aimed at intervening with at-risk young people before they steal cars is set to start in Townsville today, as part of a series of community designed projects to tackle youth crime.

The Deterring Drivers program is led by the Australian Catholic University and will highlight the dangers of so-called ‘joy riding’.

The initiative has been designed and implemented by researchers with expertise in criminology, policing, psychology, road safety and health.

The program received a one-off grant of $74,000 under the first round of the Palaszczuk Government’s Community Partnership Innovation Grants.

Young people will be referred to the six-week education program by youth service providers, including Youth Justice workers and other local stakeholders.

The Palaszczuk Government has recently announced more than $100 million in additional funding to be invested in diversion and rehabilitation programs that have been proven to make a difference in breaking the destructive cycle of youth crime.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Youth Justice Leanne Linard:

“Community safety is the Palaszczuk Government’s top priority, which is why we are investing heavily in a wide range of intervention programs for young people.

“The Deterring Drivers program is one example of how we are backing community-based solutions to local issues.

“This program will highlight the dangers of joy riding and make young people more aware of the potential consequences.

“The Community Partnership Innovation Grants scheme was developed in response to local communities wanting to be part of the solution.

“The Premier recently announced an additional $100 million in funding for a range of initiatives that not only hold offender to account but also give them the opportunity to change their lives.

“This includes expanding intensive case management, youth co-responder teams and our Stronger Communities initiatives. We will also make further investments in On Country programs and grassroots early intervention.

“These new initiatives build on the $800 million investment the Government has already made in responding to youth crime and tackling its complex causes to help break the cycle of offending for the future.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart

“We know there is a strong desire among Townsville residents for young people to be held accountable for their actions, but we also know we need to intervene with young people at risk of entering the criminal justice system. 

“The Deterring Drivers program is one example of how we are always open to new ideas to improve community safety.”

Quotes attributable to Australian Catholic University, Deterring Drivers project coordinator Dr Shannon Dodd:

“We have worked hard to ensure our knowledge of young people’s behaviours and motivations as they relate to so-called joyriding translates to action on the ground.

“We consulted stakeholder groups in Townsville to make sure we are delivering a program that meets the needs of both the community and the young people involved in these activities.”

Explainer/fast fact and or further information:

Community Partnership Innovation Grants provide funding for short-term or one-off local projects to prevent youth offending and increase community safety in communities across Queensland.

The first round of grants was rolled out in 2022, providing $1.4 million for initiatives in eight locations: Townsville, Cairns, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Logan.

The Queensland Government allocated $3 million in the 2022–23 State Budget for the second round of grants, with successful recipients expected to be announced late March.

For more information on the scheme visit


Media contact: Scott Chandler (07) 3719 7339