Queensland’s Opposition Leader is calling on the State Government to reintroduce breach of bail as a criminal offence for young people when Parliament returns this month.
Key points:

  • A young woman is dead after allegedly being hit by a car used to chase a stolen vehicle
  • Annastacia Palaszczuk has flagged sweeping changes to youth justice laws
  • The director of Queensland’s Youth Affairs Network says any law reforms should be based on evidence

David Crisafulli made the comments in Townsville on Sunday morning, in the wake of a 22-year-old motorcyclist dying on Friday night.
Police said Jennifer Board was killed when her motorbike was allegedly struck by a car that lost control while chasing a stolen vehicle in a vigilante-style pursuit.
Mr Crisafulli said the incident was the latest in a string of offences that showed the state’s youth offending laws were not keeping the community safe.
“Unless we commit on February 23 to changing the laws to reinstate breach of bails as a criminal offence, we aren’t serious about it, because lives are being torn apart,” Mr Crisafulli said.
The Government made changes to the Bail Act and Youth Justice Act in 2019 that increased the number of young offenders on bail and removed breach of bail as an automatic criminal offence.
Amendments passed last year meant children deemed an “unacceptable risk” to the community would not be granted bail, and would be remanded in custody.
Mr Crisafulli said the Opposition was not suggesting the system should not allow people a second chance.
A vigil was held for Ms Board on Saturday.(ABC News: Chloe Chomicki)
“We’re not dealing with someone stealing a KitKat we are dealing with people who are habitual reoffenders and serious reoffenders,” Mr Crisafulli said.
In the aftermath of Ms Board’s death, and following the deaths of pedestrians Matthew Field and his pregnant partner Kate Leadbetter in Brisbane, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk flagged sweeping changes to youth justice laws.
“Everything is on the table,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Saturday.
She said she had met with the Minister for Police, Youth Justice and the Attorney-General, and there would be “announcements” next week.
Siyavash Doostkhah, the director of Queensland’s Youth Affairs Network, said he hoped the Government would take an evidence-based approach to reform.
Flower memorials have piled high at the scene of the crash.(ABC News: Chloe Chomicki)
“The Premier now has the opportunity they’ve just come out of an election to reject outright any proposal that’s not soundly based on evidence,” Mr Doostkhah said.
“And what they’ve actually been proposing, including changes to the bail laws, is not based on evidence It is again using a tragedy to score political points.”
Mr Doostkhah suggested the youth sector in Queensland was underfunded, and the wrap-around services needed to work in tandem with the Bail Act were missing in action.
“The vast majority of government funding has been directed at youth justice and youth prisons,” he said.
“Hardly any of it has gone to the youth sector, which has been neglected and the Government’s been trying to deal with this within the youth justice system and that’s been a miserable failure.”
A young life snuffed out
At the crash scene where Ms Board died on Friday, flower memorials piled high as friends gathered to remember the young woman.
Luke Jenkins was friends with Ms Board in primary school and became reacquainted with her recently through the gym she managed.
“It’s a hard day it’s going to be hard now not just for myself, but I speak on behalf of the community on this,” he said.
“It is pretty hard to take in and she will be sorely missed.
Luke Jenkins (left) and Ben Watts (right) were both friends with Ms Board. Mr Jenkins says her death will be hard on the whole community.(ABC News: Chloe Chomicki)
“She was just honest and a very loving human being. Her presence is very much needed in a time like this and she will be sorely missed.
“This was very much preventable. It was also a bit of a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time kind of deal.
“This isn’t far from a traffic light and if that traffic light had been red, that would have made the world of difference and we wouldn’t be here in this unfortunate tragedy.”

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