Changes to the Youth Justice Act 1992

2021 amendments

Amendments were introduced on Thursday 25 February 2021 to strengthen accountability for serious recidivist youth offenders.  This 10 per cent of youth offenders commit nearly half of all offences and have an unacceptable impact on community safety.

Amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992 will:

  • 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
  • introduce a limited presumption against bail for children charged for particular offences (including unauthorised use of a motor vehicle where the child is a driver and dangerous driving) while on bail for an indictable offence
  • introduce a 12-month trial of GPS monitoring as a bail condition for 16 and 17-year-olds charged with particular offences in:
    • Townsville
    • North Brisbane
    • Moreton
    • Logan
    • Gold Coast
  • enable bail decision makers to consider willingness of a parent, guardian or other responsible person to support a young person on bail and advise of any relevant change of circumstances or breach of bail
  • 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 only because they do not have adequate accommodation or family support.

These amendments will be reinforced by additional intensive support for serious recidivist youth offenders to ensure that they comply with requirements including bail conditions and to address the causes of their offending.

The bill will also amend the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 to:

  • strengthen existing owner onus provisions for hooning offences
  • provide police with the power to scan people for knives in public spaces within safe night precincts, for a 12-month trial period.

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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.

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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