Changes to the Youth Justice Act 1992

2021 amendments

Amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992 came into effect on 30 April (on assent) to strengthen accountability for serious repeat youth offenders.

This small proportion of youth offenders commit a disproportionately large number of offences, and have an unacceptable impact on community safety.

The amendments:

  • introduce a limited presumption against bail for children charged with particular offences (including assault, attempted robbery, unauthorised use of a motor vehicle where the child is a driver, and dangerous driving) while on bail for an indictable offence
  • introduce time limited (2 years) provisions for GPS monitoring as an available bail condition for young offenders aged 16 years and over charged with particular offences
  • enable bail decision-makers to consider the willingness of a parent, guardian or other person to support a young person on bail, and advise of any relevant change of circumstances or breach of bail
  • reinforce the existing youth justice principle to uphold community safety by adding an additional principle that the community should be protected from serious recidivist offenders
  • codify the existing common law principle that offences committed on bail should be considered as an aggravating factor during sentencing
  • clarify the existing provision that a young person cannot be remanded in custody solely because they do not have adequate accommodation or family support.

The Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 has been amended to:

  • strengthen existing owner onus provisions for hooning offences
  • provide police with time limited (2 years) powers to scan people for knives in public spaces within Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise safe night precincts (a trial will be reviewed after 12 months).

GPS monitoring

The GPS monitoring provisions will be applied to trial electronic monitoring technology in 5 locations (precise areas are prescribed in the Youth Justice Regulation 2016):

  • Townsville
  • north Brisbane
  • Moreton
  • Logan
  • Gold Coast.

The trial will be reviewed after 12 months.

New services

More than $98 million over 4 years of new investment will also target the core serious repeat offender group and other young offenders. This funding will deliver 24/7 monitoring, supervision and support to these high-risk young people and their families.

More information

2020 amendments - youth bail

Laws to strengthen and simplify the bail decision-making process for young offenders were passed by the parliament on 17 June 2020 and commenced on 15 July 2020.

The amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992 mean that children who are an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community must not be granted bail and will be kept in custody.

More information

2019 amendments

The new laws, passed on 22 August 2019, form part of the Queensland Government’s $550 million investment in youth justice reforms, including new programs and services to keep young people out of custody and from re-offending.

The Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 was tabled in June 2019 and then referred to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee for consideration. After a detailed examination, which included submissions from stakeholders, the Committee recommended that it be passed.

The Act includes changes to the Youth Justice Act 1992, the Bail Act 1980, the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 and the Public Guardian Act 2014, including:

  • changes to the Charter of Youth Justice Principles
  • recordings and use of body-worn cameras in detention centres
  • insertion of a new sentencing principle into the Youth Justice Act 1992 regarding child homicide
  • amendments to the Public Guardian Act 2014
  • establishment of a contemporary information sharing framework under amendments to the Youth Justice Act
  • amendments to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000.

More information