North Coast short-term remand centre

Community engagement plan


Planning requirements relating to the change of use and construction works to the Caloundra Watchhouse necessitate a formal period of public notification. This notification will include:

An initial 10-day pre-engagement period is part of the planning process. This includes mailing information directly to residents and businesses immediately surrounding the site, and providing the opportunity for in-person consultation and information. Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs (CYJMA) staff will seek to clarify any questions or concerns of immediate neighbours of the centre during this 10 business days pre-engagement period. The areas on the map below shaded in blue indicate the residents and businesses to be included in the pre-engagement.

North Coast Remand Centre map


Pre-engagement with neighbouring residents and businesses will occur over 10 business days in early August. Pre-engagement activities include:

  • Direct mail of fact sheet
    We will direct mail nearby residents and businesses a fact sheet outlining the project, providing answers to expected questions, and inviting comments direct to Energy and Public Works (EPW) planning division.
  • Face-to-face engagement
    A CYJMA representative will engage personally (by going door to door) with nearby residents and businesses. This will provide local residents with the opportunity for face-to-face discussion.

We will incorporate feedback from pre-engagement into the planning process to inform impact assessments, construction design and relevant approvals.

Formal notification period

We expect to undertake a further formal period of notification in September over 20 business days. This will involve local newspaper advertisements, signage at the watchhouse on Gregson Place and further face-to-face opportunities for local residents to provide submissions on more detailed construction plans at this time. All submissions and feedback received during this period will be summarised to inform final planning decisions.

Throughout both the pre-engagement and formal notification periods, CYJMA representatives will make targeted approaches to key stakeholders, business leaders and interested parties in the Caloundra community to provide further information, take feedback and look to incorporate necessary changes to address any issues or concerns raised during the planning and design process.

Project overview

The Queensland Government, through the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, is investigating the potential for changing the existing Caloundra Watchhouse building to provide increased capacity.

  • The recent State Budget allocated $5 million in infrastructure funding for a short-term remand centre and up to $11.4 million over four years for its operation.
  • This initiative is designed to complement substantial youth justice reforms introduced this year because of the continued risk posed to our community by a small number of serious repeat youth offenders.
  • The tough new measures included the creation of a presumption against bail for youth offenders arrested for committing further serious indictable offences while on bail.
  • The Caloundra Watchhouse is being considered as the site for the short-term remand centre because:
    • it is close to a police station and courthouse
    • police advise that the repurposing of the facility can occur without impacting on operations
    • it is an operational police watchhouse; its design has suitable security features and elements
    • it currently has a similar use.
  • It is difficult to predict seasonal surges in demand for youth detention centre beds, however, it is critical we plan for additional youth detention centre capacity to maintain community safety and administer orders made by the courts.
  • We anticipate the short-term remand centre will be for a small number of young people waiting to be admitted to a youth detention centre. This means it will only be used for short periods of time, if, and when, required.
  • It is possible the centre may not need to operate at all, or it may only operate for short periods of time during peak demand periods throughout the year.

Possible questions and answers during community engagement

Can I make a submission?

At this stage we are seeking to provide local residents with further information and offer the opportunity to take feedback or answer questions. There will be a further formal notification period later this year with an opportunity for residents to make submissions once the scope of works is more clearly defined.

What changes will I notice?

There will be very few, if any, changes and there will be no changes to the facade.

Who will operate the centre?

The Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs will operate the Caloundra centre. It will be staffed with highly experienced and well-trained youth detention workers.

How will it operate?

The centre will only operate when the youth detention centres are at or near capacity. Young people remanded into custody by courts during these periods will be held at the short-term remand centre for short periods of time before being moved to another youth detention centre. It is possible the centre may not be in use regularly or even at all throughout the course of each year, but it is critical to community safety to plan for additional capacity if it is required.

Where will the young people held at the centre be from?

When operating, it is likely young people living in South East Queensland will be held at the centre. This will include young people who ordinarily live in the Sunshine Coast region.

Will young offenders be released from the centre?

No. Young people who are no longer in custody will be transported back to their community. If young people live in this area, they will be released here, as is currently the case.

Will young people be visible entering, within or nearby the centre?

No young people will be visible. Young people will be transported by secure vehicles to a secure internal area and securely managed there for the duration of their custody.

Will the centre be completely secure?

Yes. The current Caloundra Watchhouse is an operating watchhouse and therefore, completely secure. This will continue to be the case, with the safety of local residents maintained.

What age will the young people held at the centre be?

The young people will be aged between 10 and 17 years. It will no longer be used for adults.

Key contacts