Funds to target youth crime

YOUTH crime issues in Rockhampton are set to be addressed more with the Labor Party committing to a $15 million project targeting Queensland youth offenders.

The announcement, made yesterday by Premier Anna Bligh, will see the funds spent over three years to support young people at risk of harm or at risk of offending.

She said renewed funding of $13 million would go to 42 services under the Youth at Risk Initiative (YARI), providing vital services to vulnerable young people across Queensland.

"Additionally, to meet the future demand for more support to youth at risk, a further $2 million will be provided from additional GST revenues.

"This funding will go towards providing activities and personal development opportunities, bringing down the risk of anti-social behaviour."

Ms Bligh said a key goal of YARI was to prevent young people entering the justice system by giving them support as early as possible.

"We have partnered with local services to reduce reoffending not only through YARI, but with our Youth Offender Blitz across Queensland," Ms Bligh said.

"The blitz is a comprehensive four-pronged approach focussing on learning or earning with intensive case management and targeting areas such as Rockhampton, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Townsville, Toowoomba and Mount Isa as well as the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

ALP candidate for Rockhampton Bill Byrne said there had been a 58% success rate against the 17 repeat offenders targeted in Rockhampton.

"The reality is that it's working," he said.

"But it's not going to solve all the problems."

Mr Byrne said Rockhampton needed more community involvement in the way the region handled juvenile justice.

LNP Shadow Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said Labor could throw more money at vulnerable youth, but if it kept sending soft messages on youth crime, nothing would change.

"Under Labor, nearly a third of all youth offenders in detention have been there at least five times before," he said.

The LNP planned to strengthen youth crime laws with "naming and shaming" and cautions.

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