Nanango MP: 'Toughen up on crime'

THERE needs to be a tougher stance on youth crime.  

That's the message from Nanango MP and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington.  

Mrs Frecklington spoke out after two teenagers were charged and a 12-year-old dealt with under the Youth Justice Act following a rock-throwing incident in Cherbourg.  

"I would like to hope that these juveniles are punished correctly and that they don't do the wrong thing again," she said.  

Mrs Frecklington said community consultation in Murgon and Cherbourg suggested more needed to be done to address the growing crime rate.   "We've seen the crime rates across the state," she said.  

"The crime rates have gone up across the state and the South Burnett is not unique.

  "When I meet with community members and police officers, there is major concern out there because the community doesn't understand why we aren't being tougher on crime."  

Mrs Frecklington expressed disappointment over recent changes to the Youth Justice Act, which will see 17-year-olds dealt with as minors and transferred to juvenile justice systems.

She said it was more effective to deal with 17-year-olds in the adult justice system.  

"It is easier to segment off young people in a prison because of the amount of adult prisoners we have," she said.

  Mrs Frecklington said she had written to Police Minister Mark Ryan about what she saw as a lack of resources in the Murgon and Cherbourg areas.  

"I think the police need a hand," she said.   "I think they need a couple of extra boots on the ground. I have already written to the police minister last week."  

Mrs Frecklington also called on the community to look out for their young people, citing a string of offences in Murgon and Cherbourg recently, including car thefts.

  "It is terrifying and that's why we need to make sure we work together as a community to make sure these kids are OK," she said.  

"This cannot be our normal. It won't be our normal because it's just a blip on our radar.

"We are extremely fortunate that we have such a wonderful area.

The police need to be resourced properly.

They need to be able to have the powers where they can do something about these juveniles."  

Regarding the incident in Cherbourg, a Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said a 42-year-old woman and 41-year-old man were travelling to work along Barambah Ave on Sunday, February 11, when a group of people allegedly threw rocks at their car.  

They allegedly smashed the driver's side window and grazed one of the people in the car.  

The man and woman drove to a nearby medical facility, where a number of people from the group approached the vehicle.  

Two of the people allegedly made threats towards the victims before entering the vehicle and searching inside.  

The QPS spokeswoman said the same group of offenders then allegedly made threats to staff and damaged doors while attempting to enter an aged care facility.   

A 13-year-old Cherbourg boy has  been charged with two counts of wilful damage and one count each of armed with intent to break or enter and commit indictable offence, enter premises and commit indictable offence and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.  

A 16-year-old boy was charged with armed with intent to break or enter and commit indictable offence.  

A 12-year-old Cherbourg boy has been dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.  

Investigations continue.  

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