Labor fails on youth crime again as parliamentary committee crumbles

Apr 19, 2024

The Queensland Parliamentary Youth Justice Reform Select Committee’s dissolvement this week marks yet another dismal failure in the Labor Government’s attempt to address youth crime. The committee’s final report failed to pass due to a lack of consensus among members, a result that was inevitable with an evenly stacked Government and Opposition committee.

Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader Nick Dametto has been a fierce advocate in the fight against youth crime and said that although it was no surprise the committee imploded, on behalf of all Queenslanders and victims of crime he was still bitterly disappointed that another opportunity had been lost.

“There was no doubt the committee was doomed to fail from the start,” he said.

“The appointment of Independent MP Sandy Bolton as the Chair was a good first step but when the rest of the committee consisted of even numbers of Labor and LNP members, there was no way one would cross the floor and stand with their enemy to achieve the required five votes against two.

“A truly independent committee would have given every member equal voting rights with the Chair holding a casting vote. This would have made the committee a fair and equitable platform free of political posturing.”

Despite not being passed, the Committee’s draft report was published on the Parliament website and painted a grim picture of the direction the State Labor Government was wanting the committee to take. 

“I was outraged to see discussion in the report claiming that media coverage of youth criminals re-offending whilst on bail ‘compromises public confidence’,” Mr Dametto said.

“Stifling the media and making the public less informed of the extent of youth crime going on around them would only be an idea floated by those who are desperate and out of ideas on how to solve this youth crime problem.

“Clearly those who penned the report hadn’t been listening to Queensland victims. This report was not pushing for greater transparency and accountability, instead it was seeking to sweep youth crime under the rug.

Mr Dametto said he was also disappointed to see the committee’s dismissive attitude towards KAP’s Relocation Sentencing policy that was made through a formal submission to the inquiry.

“Clearly our submission wasn’t read or understood by the committee with them quick to label it is a ‘boot camp’ and dismiss it as a previously failed option. Relocation Sentencing does not compare to previously trialled boot camps that were deemed a failure by Labor.

“The committee’s lazy half page reference to Relocation Sentencing was insulting.

“The report’s dismissive response to Relocation Sentencing shows a sharp disconnect between the Labor party factions, especially when we consider that the Premier has come out endorsing parts of the Relocation Sentencing policy by going out to Expressions of Interest for Intensive On Country programs.

“Yet those working in the background against this policy adoption have shone brightly through in the draft committee report wording.

“The clock is ticking for Labor as they quickly approach the October election with still no clear or concise plan in place to fix their political Achilles heel.”

Photo: Nick Dametto MP, Robbie Katter MP and Shane Knuth MP in Brisbane.