Making Queensland communities safer will be a feature of the 2014-15 State Budget.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the Budget built on the Government’s plan to deliver a strong future for Queensland.
“It includes our plan to secure the State’s finances by making the Smartest and Strongest Choice to reduce debt, while also continuing to deliver on our commitment to grow a four pillar economy and revitalise frontline services,” Mr Nicholls said.
“As part of this, we are investing in Queensland’s future as a safe and fun place to live and visit.”
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the Budget backed the Government’s commitment to tackle alcohol and drug related violence through its Safe Night Out Strategy.
“The Safe Night Out Strategy is a strong plan to change the culture of alcohol-fuelled violence that has developed in Queensland and ensure that a safe night out is a great night out,” Mr Bleijie said.
Mr Bleijie said within his portfolio $31.1 million over four years would be used for a range of initiatives including additional liquor licensing inspectors, the establishment of 15 Safe Night Out Precincts across Queensland, support services, awareness campaigns and a trial of sober safe centres.
“We are also delivering on our election commitment to Queenslanders to provide better infrastructure and planning and to rebalance the scales of justice by developing a strong plan for law and order reform that is achieving results,” he said.
“After years of the former Labor Government failing to tackle crime effectively, the crime rate is now falling and serious criminals are being kept off the streets.
“Prison is about protecting the community as well as punishing criminals and this Budget will ensure the Government can continue to keep Queenslanders safe.
“To manage prisoner growth, $61 million will be invested into recommissioning, refurbishing and expanding existing correctional centres to deliver more than 650 new beds.”
The expansion will include:
- Recommissioning the Borallon Correctional Centre (492 beds for male prisoners) and the Harold Gregg Unit at Townsville Correctional Centre (72 beds)
- Expanding the Lotus Glenn Correctional Centre (72 beds) and the Numinbah Correctional Centre (30 beds for female prisoners)
- Converting the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre into a women’s prison
Mr Bleijie said security in Queensland’s correctional centres would also be upgraded.
“The former Labor Government’s mismanagement left many of our prisons behind the times,” he said.
“We’re spending $5.7 million this year on state-of-the-art security, including motion-detecting cameras and vibration sensing fences to prevent escapes and upgraded scanning systems to stop contraband being smuggled in.”
Mr Bleijie said $3.7 million would go towards programs to help prisoners re-enter the community after they’ve served their sentence.
“While we have taken tough and necessary action to tackle crime after years of inaction by the former Labor Government, helping offenders find accommodation and a job after they have done their time is a win for everyone,” he said.
“The funding follows the Government’s $100 million commitment to provide vulnerable and disadvantaged Queenslanders with greater access to legal services.
“Everyone deserves the right to exercise their legal rights and meet their legal obligations and the $100 million investment to assistance organisations across the State will ensure economically and socially disadvantaged people can access free or low cost legal services.
“Locking in the funding for the three years also ensures these vital groups have the ability to plan and grow while continuing their important work.
“The Government’s strong plan for a bright future is ensuring Queenslanders have fair access to justice.”