KAP kicks off consultation on bush sentencing

Sep 12, 2023

Community consultation has commenced across North and Far North Queensland on an alternative youth detention sentencing model being pioneered by Katter’s Australian Party.

KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter, joined by KAP Hill MP Shane Knuth, has just wrapped up a visit to Cairns and Mareeba to meet with local leaders, business owners and residents to discuss the party’s recently-released Relocation Sentencing policy.

Mr Katter said all the communities he visited last week were seeking a radical change in the youth justice space, and there was growing support for KAP’s plan to send recidivist youth offenders bush for long-term and intensive rehabilitation programs.

He said meetings with Cairns Regional Council and Mareeba Shire Council had been productive, and that local business owners in particular – many of whom have been the target of young offenders – were demanding change.

“It’s been sobering to step outside my own electorate where we are at crisis point with this issue and be made very aware of how seriously the youth crime issue is impacting all communities across the North and Far North; truly nowhere is safe,” the KAP Leader said.

“The people we spoke to made it very clear they don’t want another juvenile detention centre like Cleveland in their backyard, and will not support the building of the site at Edmonton.”

“Given the place has a 95 per cent recidivism rate, who can blame them?

“With $500 million on the table to build facilities that address the youth crime crisis, KAP believes community consultation is essential before any decisions are made.

“There is growing state-wide support for our Relocation Sentencing policy, so we believe it’s a no-brainer that it’s part of the mis – we will be making this very clear to the Premier and her Ministers next week.”

KAP Hill MP Shane Knuth said it had been made very clear to KAP that the current system was not working.

“You only have to talk to business owners and locals on the ground, who are under siege, to understand the true impact of youth crime,” Mr Knuth said.

“The government has ignored this problem for so long and has continued to do the same thing over and over again to get the same results, which Queenslanders are fed up with and want a clear alternative.

“We have received positive feedback and support for our Relocation Sentencing policy, as the majority believe it will provide a real circuit breaker to not only punish youth offenders but also rehabilitate them to drastically reduce the rate of repeat offending.”

The KAP recently released, and provided to the State Labor Government and LNP Opposition, its formal Relocation Sentencing policy document.

The policy is being pitched as a ground-up rethink to address Queensland’s youth crime problem, and is based on four main pillars, which are that effective detention-based sentencing options for recidivist youth offenders must be:

  1. Remote,
  2. Mandatory,
  3. Fixed term, and include
  4. Intensive rehabilitation

Its purpose is to address the high incidence of recidivist offending by introducing a new sentencing option to deter re-offending and address the shortfalls in current rehabilitation programs.

The KAP is now imploring all parliamentarians to heed the collective calls of Queenslanders who have asked for alternative, and stricter, sentencing models for recidivist youth offenders.

The party is calling for an immediate governmental trial of the policy, and wants to see a pilot 30-bed Relocation Sentencing facility funded and built in outback Queensland as a priority.