Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says the youth bail laws cannot slip through the cracks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says the youth bail laws cannot slip through the cracks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Opposition calls for action on bail laws

Coronavirus cannot be used as an excuse to bypass changes to youth crime laws, the Opposition says, as a lengthy state parliament sitting focused on the COVID-19 response saw many matters pushed to the side.

It comes as the State Government held its first sitting on Thursday to address the future response since the COVID-19 restrictions saw parliament put on the backburner.

Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer recently vowed to make changes to the Youth Justice Act to combat Townsville's crime crisis after amendments were made in December to loosen the laws.

Police officers and lawyers have previously told the Bulletin the youth justice bail laws had instead added an extra layer of considerations when denying a child bail, making it difficult to keep them in custody.

The coronavirus restrictions meant delays were inevitable in proposed changes, but Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington was vocal about her concerns the youth crime amendments would slip through the cracks.

Ms Frecklington claims she did not have the opportunity to move amendments on several matters with parliament primarily focused on the emergency response to COVID-19.

A spokesman said the Government was focused on confronting the global pandemic.

"The point of parliament this week was to pass legislation that deals with both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The Opposition failed to find even one way to improve that response," he said.

Crime across Townsville has dropped since coronavirus restrictions, with about 11 per cent fewer unlawful entry offences committed around the region in March.

In February, property crime across the region peaked at the highest it has been in about 10 years.

Originally published as Opposition calls for action on bail laws


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