More funding is needed to tackle growing youth crime and violence locally but the Sunshine Coast is missing out, claims Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson.
Speaking in Parliament this week, Ms Simpson called on the State Labor Government to provide more funding for youth justice and youth engagement strategies on the Sunshine Coast to help support vulnerable young people and help make our community safer.
Ms Simpson said that the Minister announced more funding for youth justice programs and community youth responses in Brisbane, Ipswich, Cairns and Townsville, but nothing for the Sunshine Coast.
“Let me be clear, violence should never be tolerated but there are young people who can be diverted from a life of crime if the right help is provided at the right time,” Ms Simpson said.
She said that the local community was deeply concerned by recent disturbing violent incidents involving young people, particularly on buses and at public transport hubs like Maroochydore and that more resources were needed to help local agencies work collaboratively with the police to steer young people away from crime as well as addressing public safety.
“I am working together with local agencies in my electorate and I want to see effective and funded actions with clear and transparent measures to help Police, Youth Justice and other community agencies like IFYS (Integrated Family and Youth Services) to work together to help young people get their lives back on track,” Ms Simpson said.
“Locally we are seeing a cohort of young people, many impacted by mental health and welfare issues, who need the right support to stay engaged in education and training while being diverted away from a pathway that leads into a criminal lifestyle.
“We have some great leadership and mentoring programs like Operation Booyah, run by Queensland Police, but more funding for a range of youth justice initiatives such as this to provide early diversion from crime is needed across the Sunshine Coast.
“There are 7 fewer police on beat locally than two years ago thanks to the Labor Government’s budget cuts but I want to see more funding to tackle crime and make our streets, buses and trains safer for everyone.
“We have a glossy brochure about a State-wide Youth Justice Strategy and the Minister talks about ‘record investment’ in Queensland’s youth justice system but I am not seeing any commitment to increased funding for programs across the Sunshine Coast which needs her urgent attention.
“I will keep pursuing the objective of safe streets and safe homes, working collaboratively with police and community to get a fair dinkum and funded outcome.”