Stopping youth crime is a priority for One Nation candidate
FINDING the right approach to tackle Central Queensland’s youth crime issue is a challenge confronting all of the candidates contesting the October 31 State Election.
Following yesterday’s unveiling of the LNP’s plan to crackdown on youth crime in CQ, One Nation candidate for Rockhampton, Torin O’Brien, has come forward to offer his party’s solutions to the festering problem.
The local business owner and Commonwealth Muay Thai champion believes our politicians have set the system up as a “catch and release” program when youth are caught offending.
Without parents and society setting boundaries, Mr O’Brien said youth crime would continue to escalate across CQ, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Sadly the issue of youth crime only comes up when elections roll around, yet when the votes are counted, politicians drop the issue,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Our police are equally frustrated with the situation, but are compelled to stay tight-lipped and not speak out against the courts catch and release decisions.”
“How bad does a kid have to be these days before they’re finally incarcerated?”
He referred to the Australian Government Institute of Health and Welfare data showing that 77 per cent of those under youth justice supervision were male and 58 per cent of those aged 10-17 were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
“The Queensland Government is very cagey when it comes to disclosing the cost of detaining a young person, but in NSW it’s estimated to cost the state government $490,560 for each detainee, every year,” he said.
“You can see why the courts are reluctant to lock kids up.”
“A lot of these kids simply have toxic family environments with no solid role models in their lives.”
When his oldest daughter started pre-prep, Mr O’Brien said parents were allowed to stay onsite for two hours each day to help kids adapt to school life.
“I found myself making sandwiches for countless kids who were dropped off without any lunch,” he said.
“If kids aren’t having simple things like lunches provided, imagine what other deficiencies are occurring in the home.”
According to Mr O’Brien, pilot youth camps should be implemented to take the pressure off detention centres and give judges an alternative to simply releasing youth offenders back into the community.
“Our farming and fishing industries have a lot to offer these kids and it’s about time we act on programs that have shown to get kids back on the straight and narrow,” he said.
“Let’s get these kids out of their sh---y home lives and put them with role models who will offer them a life beyond crime and mischief.”
Another idea he strongly supported was the implementation of a 24hr Community Centre, designed to act as a safe haven for kids who want to escape the torment of abuse as well as drugs and alcohol in the home.
“Many of these kids you see out wandering the streets late at night are too afraid to go home and inevitably find themselves in trouble,” he said.
“They need a safe space that offers structure, a decent meal, role models, and a bed if they need it.
“We’re not going to fix this overnight, but unless we start to turn things around with fresh ideas, this problem will continue to get bigger.”
Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke has been approached for details on how Labor planned to address the issue of youth crime in our region but has yet to respond.
One Nation’s 10 point plan to address crime in Queensland
- Build additional prisons and where possible, extend the capacity of the 14 existing facilities throughout the state.
- Better resource Queensland’s 131 Magistrate Courts and increase Magistrate numbers.
- Commit to building additional drug rehabilitation centres with the proceeds of drug crimes.
- Legislate a Queensland Sex Offenders public register and website.
- Establish outback and regional ‘Juvenile Boot Camps’ for younger offenders.
- Fund a North Queensland Police helicopter unit for Townsville.
- Commit to rebadging the Queensland Police Service as the ‘Queensland Police Force’.
- Abolish the ‘No Pursuit’ policy.
- Re-establish Community Policing initiatives including Neighbourhood Watch programs in consultation with the Queensland Police Force.
- Appropriately resource frontline Police with smart devices that provide live information on suspects.