Queensland LNP member for Burdekin Dale Last says Townsville’s crime issue has been put in the too hard basket after the State Government scrapped parliament. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Queensland LNP member for Burdekin Dale Last says Townsville’s crime issue has been put in the too hard basket after the State Government scrapped parliament. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

Crime in ‘too hard basket' as pollies take a break

A North Queensland member of parliament said there is "red-hot anger" in the region in wake of the State Government scrapping parliament just one day after making promises to amended youth bail laws.

Opposition Minister for North Queensland Dale Last said the decision to postpone parliament put juvenile offenders before the victims as the threat of COVID-19 takes a hit on state politics.

It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the decision to postpone parliament after the Federal Government ruled social distancing should be implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The announcement on Wednesday came the day after Department of Youth Minister Di Farmer conceded the Youth Justice Act would be amended after enormous community pressure to tighten the laws surrounding juvenile offenders.

A spokesman from Ms Farmer's office said it was unclear when the legislation change could progress given the rapidly changing coronavirus threat shutting down gatherings.

Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington said the Premier's move showed the "crime crisis wasn't important enough to debate".

Deb Frecklington says the State Government is avoiding Townsville’s crime issue. Pic Annette Dew
Deb Frecklington says the State Government is avoiding Townsville’s crime issue. Pic Annette Dew

Ms Frecklington said the justice system will "remain broken" and risked "dire consequences" for Townsville residents.

"Any progress to make our streets safer has now been pushed aside indefinitely," she said.

"There is no denying the coronavirus pandemic and the safety of Queenslanders is the number one priority but Labor is using this crisis to shutdown parliament for its own advantage."

Mr Last said Townsville's crime issue had been thrown in the "too hard basket" by the Premier.

Leader of the House Yvette D'Ath said the Government needed to show leadership when exercising social distancing in the House.

A spokesman from the Premier's office said parliament had not been cancelled, but adjourned until March 31 to allow the Premier and ministers to work on the urgent response to the global coronavirus pandemic which has already impacted several Queensland communities, including Townsville.

The spokesman said any new legislation, including the Youth Justice Act amendments, will be considered within the agenda with priority given to dealing with coronavirus.

Originally published as Crime in 'too hard basket' as pollies take a break



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