Government invites feedback on youth justice changes

The Queensland Government is offering the community an opportunity to voice its views on proposed changes to the state’s youth justice laws.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a number of law changes on 29 December in response to reported community outrage after the alleged stabbing death of a mother by two juveniles on Brisbane’s northern outskirts on Boxing Day.

Two 17-year-old boys have been charged with the stabbing murder of Emma Lovell, 41, and wounding her 43-year-old husband after breaking into their North Lakes home about 11.30pm on 26 December. The pair were detained shortly after the alleged attack and remain in custody after a brief appearance before Childrens Court magistrate Peter Saggers in Brisbane yesterday (16 January).

The incident received national media attention over the Christmas holiday period and included calls from some sectors of the community for tougher youth justice laws and penalties.

Ms Palaszczuk, as reported in QLS Proctor, late last year said the community had been heard, saying: “My government is listening and we are acting.”

The Government is now offering everyone the chance to respond to its proposed measures via a ‘have your say’ question-and-answer section on its ‘stronger laws for community safety’ web page, which says:


“Our most recent proposed legislative responses are designed to break the cycle of offending by serious repeat offenders, with stronger penalties supporting the efforts of police and the courts to reduce offending and hold criminals accountable.

“We realise that there is no quick fix for youth offending – and a range of long-term responses are needed to prevent offending and to protect the community.

“Accordingly, we want community input into how youth justice, crime prevention and related human services should be delivered into the future to reduce offending and keep communities safe.”

Public submissions can be made by responding to five questions posed and is limited to 1000 words for each answer.

No deadline has been nominated on the webpage for the close of submissions.

The proposed changes to Queensland laws include:

  • an increase in the maximum penalty for stealing a car from seven to 10 years’ imprisonment;
  • a more severe penalty of 14 years if the offence is committed at night, where the offender uses violence or threatens violence, is armed or pretends to be armed, is in company or damages or threatens to damage any property;
  • amendment of the Youth Justice Act requiring courts to take into account previous bail history, criminal activity and track record when sentencing, and
  • increased penalties for criminals who have boasted about their crimes on social media.

Other proposed youth justice measures involve:

  • a $9.89 million fast-track sentencing program in Brisbane, Townsville, Southport and Cairns so children spend less time on remand and more time serving their sentences
  • the construction of two new youth detention centres
  • a trial of engine immobilisers in Mt Isa, Cairns and Townsville, and
  • the appointment within the Queensland Police Service of an Assistant Commissioner to the position of Youth Crime Taskforce Commander.
Share this article

4 Responses

  1. I believe the best way is a five year term in the military where they learn discipline if they fail the basic training course they go into general population prison no if’s or but’s you do the crime you do the time the punishment must be severe this is the problem the government is to weak and should be enforcing have to be cruel to be kind.

  2. Current Breach of Bail Laws need to be amended.
    Minimum Sentencing needs to be reviewed and enacted, not Maximum Sentencing. Afterall, the courts never apply maximum sentences so what is the point in amending this area.
    Letting youth offenders to reoffend with no consequences is rehensible.
    How many innocent people have to die before this weak and lame Qld Labor Government does something.
    Some form of Boot Camp or compulsory national service where discipline is imposed may be a way of curbing this anti-social behaviour.

  3. I worked in the NZ Police as a Youth Aid Officer in Porirua, which has a large indigenous population. The issues faced there are similar to that being faced in Queensland. We worked with the community on a number of programs to assist youth and deter crimes in the area, such as;

    – Policing truancy – any child seen anywhere in the district in school time was stopped and returned home or to school. If with a parent, they were spoken to as to the reason why the child was not at school. Fines of $1,000 per truancy could be given out. The whole of the policing community was involved in this program over a two month period and resulted in virtually no children being on the streets or in the city during school hours.
    – This Act was also used when trying to break up Criminal groups – approaching the parents of those kids on the peripherals of group the and advising them of the fines often was the catalyst to getting the parents take more responsibility and monitoring them.
    – Running programs at local community centres – such as Therapeutic Storytelling – this proved to be quite successful and a number of schools also were using this technique.
    – Offering free healthy breakfasts at school for those children who often either had no breakfast or turned up with a packet of chips or biscuits. Fundraising was conducted by the community to fund these.
    – Mentoring program with successful men and women in the community offering their time and advice to help those children.
    – Family involvement and responsibility. Family Group Conference involving the families; community and victims often had positive results.
    – Using the breach of bail laws to our advantage. Knowing that the group would always be together, we actively sought those children out and arrested them as they all had non association clauses – this disrupted them and constantly being held in custody was not appealing resulting in a number leaving the group.
    – Running basketball competitions/blue light discos within the local community. Police took part and it was well received by the community.
    – Active involved in the school community – attending meetings/talks and so.

    This is just some of the activities/programs that we ran and while this wont work for all youth it certainly helped build a positive relationship between police, the community and youth people.

  4. As the parents can’t control these youths-they need to be placed in a detention centre until the age of 18 with no mobiles. They are gutless as they as part of a gang when committing these horrific crimes-these crimes would not be committed by a youth on their own. Detention centre can discipline these youths and try to reform them-they need to be punished for the adult crimes they are committing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search by keyword