Queensland’s councils are calling for youth diversionary centres to be established on remote state land to give young people skills and care and keep them out of youth detention.
The peak body representing Queensland’s councils has requested that the State Government considers establishing the diversionary facilities to help address youth crime.
“Our members voted last year for this as a positive step that could help tackle re-offending rates and provide specific services and support needed to break the cycle of crime,” LGAQ chief executive officer Alison Smith said.
“Councils have suggested small centres could be developed in remote areas, where these young people can be given a chance in life by providing them with both social and accredited vocational skills in a safe environment away from negative influences.
“Young people who are disengaging or have disengaged from the education system could then be provided with alternative pathways into further education, employment and social engagement that is culturally appropriate and inclusive.”
Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Angela Toppin said the youth justice system needed to change.
“The current system of either sending young people to formal youth detention centres, where they often become further criminalised by the fellow inmates or are given some form of community service is not working for many of these vulnerable young members of society,” Mayor Toppin said.
“The State Government in recent times has acquired several large properties across Queensland – including The Lakes Station and Bramwell Station - and my council is proposing that small centres be developed on some of these.
“These facilities could be set up across the state and while it is envisaged that they be multicultural in nature, should specific groups wish to establish culturally specific facilities this should also be accommodated.
“These facilities should not be seen as places of punishment but rather places where young people, who have often missed out of opportunities because of the environment they are in, could develop the necessary skills to succeed in life.
“Something must be done to address the increase in youth crime and the current approach is having limited success.”
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