QLD election - LNP to trial curfew to bust Townsville youth crime epidemic

A Tim Nicholls-led Liberal National Party Government will trial a six-month curfew for Townsville youth and work with the Commonwealth Government to freeze welfare payments to parents with kids behind bars.


LNP Leader Tim Nicholls said in Townsville the strategy was one aspect of a comprehensive $25.9 million North Queensland Crime Action Plan that would be released in full today.


“We will implement a six-month $1.3 million youth curfew strategy, named ‘Operation Townsville Safe Streets’ to help residents get their community back,” Mr Nicholls said.


“The trial will affect children under 16 who are roaming the streets after 10pm either by themselves or with other minors.


“Young kids found roaming Townsville streets will be collected by police and looked after at a local emergency accommodation shelter until they can be safely returned to their parents.


“The shelter will be staffed with a counsellor and nurse to ensure the wellbeing of the child, while ensuring the community is protected.”


Mr Nicholls said young thugs roaming the streets would soon learn that it’s not worth the risk of being caught, while their parents would be held more accountable for their actions.


“The Townsville community is crying out for action and leadership on this issue and is sick to death of these young criminals running amok with impunity,” he said.


“That is why we will partner with the Commonwealth Government to ensure parents of a child in youth detention don’t receive welfare payments they would normally receive while that child is behind bars.”


Mr Nicholls said the curfew strategy was not just about stopping crime or preventing kids being victims of crime but also about helping children have the best chance in life.


“In Iceland, a curfew has been in place for many years and today that country has some of the world’s cleanest-living teens,” he said.


“The curfew combined with organised sporting activities and spending time with their parents saw a huge decline in the percentage of 15- and 16 year-olds who had been drunk, using drugs and smoking.*


“It is why we have committed to funding more activities at the PCYC to keep youths entertained on top of the curfew.


“It is a holistic approach which we think is worth a trial - doing nothing is not an option.”


Mr Nicholls said many US cities and the Northbridge precinct in Western Australia had curfews in place.


“WA Labor Premier Geoff Gallop actually put in place a curfew in the Northbridge** precinct in 2003 and it has been enforced ever since,” he said.


“The Northbridge example saw a dramatic drop in crime and a reduction in the anti-social behaviour of young people.


“It is something we believe we can replicate in Townsville and if successful, roll out to other cities across the state dealing with youth crime epidemics.”


* https://mosaicscience.com/story/iceland-prevent-teen-substance-abuse

** http://youthlegalserviceinc.com.au/fact-sheets/the-northbridge-curfew/


2 November 2017.