Young offenders (7.12.2016)

Written on the 3 February 2017

7 December 2016


Members statements

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)


Two years of the Andrews Labor government has seen Victoria named the crime capital of Australia, with crime spiralling out of control. So in a panicked and catch-up announcement Daniel Andrews this week announced the recruitment of 2700 police, but they will not be on the street until well into 2018. But it is not just about more police.

This announcement made no mention of the sentencing reforms or weakened bail laws which the government in its first few months undertook, giving the green light for young offenders to disregard the law and think there are no consequences for their actions. What is the point in having bail if when bail is breached nothing happens? What message does that send?

Meanwhile we have a minister in charge of youth justice who has overseen an absolute debacle. Despite the warnings, the riots continue, and there has been an escalation in violence, damage and destruction that has cost Victorians millions of dollars and left youth justice staff fearing for their safety. When legitimate questions are asked in this place, this minister arrogantly dismisses them and refuses to provide the facts and the real figures. What is more, now we have a policy that exempts one group of offenders over another.

Who is actually calling the shots? It certainly is not the government and this minister. That was demonstrated with the removal of three Indigenous offenders from Barwon Prison. What message does it send when Indigenous offenders get special exemption? Now the government is in court fighting new challenges against the remaining offenders who Daniel Andrews made absolutely no apology about sending there only just last week being kept there. It should never have got to this. This is a mess.

This is a government that can only blame itself for the absolute debacle in youth crime, with youth crime spiralling out of control and a youth justice system in disarray. It is no wonder that Victorians have no faith in this government bringing this crisis under control and are now living in fear for their own safety. Daniel Andrews might talk tough, but just like on so many other occasions his rhetoric does not match his actions.

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