RISING CRIME RATE: Warrego MP Ann Leahy has called on the State Government to introduce stricter laws for youth offenders. Picture: Nicholas Falconer
RISING CRIME RATE: Warrego MP Ann Leahy has called on the State Government to introduce stricter laws for youth offenders. Picture: Nicholas Falconer

Warrego MP hits out at ‘soft youth justice laws’ in Queensland

Warrego MP Ann Leahy has labelled Queensland’s youth justice laws as “soft” in the wake of two tragic incidents since the start of 2021.

Ms Leahy said Queensland witnessed the “watering down” of these laws in 2016 at the start of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s first term, inferring there has been a steady rise in youth crime since.

“In recent weeks we have seen the heartbreaking loss of innocent young lives due to the watering down of the state’s youth justice laws,” Ms Leahy said.

“Our own communities are not immune to the repeat offences of youths.

“There are multiple reports of break and enters, youths stealing cars, joy-riding in stolen cars for hundreds of kilometres, alleged assaults on other children, not attending school, terrorising shopkeepers and staff, to name a few.”

Queensland is still reeling from the horrific hit-and-run deaths of Kate Leadbetter and Matt Field and their unborn son Miles and just days after 22-year-old Jennifer Board was killed in Townsville, allegedly by vigilantes chasing a stolen car being driven by an 18-year-old.

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As part of Labor’s Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, Ms Leahy said the State Government scrapped the LNP’s breach of bail offence, removed boot camp orders from sentencing options for children, and made childhood findings of guilt admissible in court when sentencing a person for an adult offence.

Other amendments included reinstating detention and imprisonment as a last resort when sentencing a child.

“Elderly residents advise me they are scared to leave their homes, businesses have written to me disgusted by the youth behaviour, and parents are devastated by what is happening in once safe communities,” Ms Leahy said.

“I am calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk’s to start addressing this youth behaviour by amending legislation when parliament returns on February 23 by bringing back breach of bail as an offence,” Ms Leahy said.

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