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Queensland Disbands Youth Crime Committee Due to Political Conflict

The Labor Party and the state opposition are both blaming each other for the disbandment of the committee.

The Queensland Parliament has dissolved a committee tasked with addressing the growing youth crime issue in the state due to disagreements between the major political parties.

This decision comes in response to a rise in youth offenders aged between 10 and 17 years old in Queensland in recent years.

On April 17, the Queensland government unexpectedly motioned to dissolve the Youth Justice Reform Select Committee due to tensions between the ruling Labor Party and the opposition Liberal National Party (LNP) over a delayed interim report.

The Committee was set up in October 2023 as a bipartisan effort to explore legal reforms to combat youth crime and provide support for victims.

The interim report (pdf) was supposed to update on the progress of potential reforms and make recommendations to address youth crime issues in the state.

The motion passed with a 49-30 vote in favor of Labor.

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Leader of the House and Energy Minister Mick de Brenni blamed the opposition for the dissolution, accusing the LNP of politicizing the issue.

“It is disappointing, but it is not surprising,” he stated in Parliament.

“The LNP opposition is delaying reforms that could provide justice to Queenslanders.”

Opposition’s Response

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader David Crisafulli accused Labor of causing the Committee’s disbandment.

“Labor didn’t want to acknowledge their failures in dealing with youth crime or listen to crime victims,” he posted on social media.

Members of the LNP on the Committee also expressed their disappointment over the lack of time given to review the report and its recommendations.

Committee chair Independent MP Sandy Bolton expressed her regret that the report, which she believed could have been beneficial for the state, could not be presented in parliament.

The State of Youth Crime in Queensland

The dissolution of the Committee comes as Queensland witnesses an increase in youth offenders over the past three years.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of offenders aged between 10 and 17 years in Queensland rose in the 2022-23 financial year.

However, the figures still remain lower than the peak in 2009-10, with a decrease in the offender rate in the decade leading up to 2020.

Despite this, criminal offences in Queensland hit a record high in 2023 compared to the past two decades, with a rise in severe crimes.

Queensland police reported a total of 603,321 criminal offences in 2023, representing a 7.3 percent increase from the previous year and indicating a smaller group of repeat offenders committing more serious crimes.

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