LNP's boot camps dumped by Labor after $16.7m blowout

Attorney-General Yvette D'ath
Attorney-General Yvette D'ath Liam Kidston

Boot camp operators will be given their marching orders when their contracts expire in September and October.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath told a parliamentary budget estimates committee that a "scathing report" showed a blow out to $16.7 million - which the Palaszczuk government says is eight times the promised cost.

She said the report also showed the boot camps did not break the cycle of repeat offending after the former attorney-general "said loud and long that they were the secret to curb reoffending".

Former attorney-general Jarrod Bleije has publicly defended the boot camps.

He said he was proud of his decision to use them as part of the former government's efforts to fight crime.

The report reveals the average daily cost to keep a young person at one of the four camps, Lincoln Springs west of Ingham, was $2350 a day, compared with $999 for youth detention.

The camps were at Lincoln Spring, Rockhampton, Fraser Coast and the Gold Coast.

Ms D'Ath said she had directed her department to terminate all boot camp trials and to find ways to ensure a smooth transition through appropriate alternatives.

She said Mr Bleije's decisions had already come under scathing attack from the Queensland Audit Office earlier this year.

"That report found the cost had blown out to $12.3 million and that contracts had been awarded under what can only be called questionable circumstances," she said on Thursday morning.

"Expert evidence was ignored and contracts awarded to organisations that didn't even make the short list.
"Further evaluation by independent experts KPMG is even more damming.

"It has found the cost over three years has actually blown out to $16.7 million.

"More importantly the evaluation audit has shattered the myth on which the trial was based.

"It has found that the youth boot camps do not break the cycle of repeat offending and that recidivism rates of participants in the sentencing boot camp were no different to those experienced for offenders in areas such as those in youth detention centres.

"It found the program was hastily set up and was not supported by appropriate research.

"In short it was an expensive failure cooked up by an Attorney-General who measured success by the amount of media interes the generated.

"This is a scathing report and it shows that more work needs to be done to support youth and to stop recidivism in this state."

The Palaszczuk government has allocated $23.6 million to youth justice in this budget to bring back court referrals to youth justice conferencing.

"The conferencing process makes young people take responsibility for their actions and the effect on victims," Ms D'Ath told the estimates hearing.

"It gives victims the opportunity to be heard.

"This was a positive program that was working well until it was cut by an Attorney-General more concerned with headlines and helicopters than listening to the experts."


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