Proposed North Coast short-term remand centre

Project overview

The Queensland Government, through the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs (DCYJMA), is investigating the potential to purpose the Caloundra Watchhouse into a short-term remand centre for young people.

  • The 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 in 2021 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 would be for a small number of young people waiting to be admitted to a youth detention centre. This means it would 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.

Read more about the proposal in the question and answers.

Community engagement and consultation

Community engagement

DCYMA representatives undertook initial engagement with neighbouring residents and businesses in August 2021 which included in-person discussion, and a direct mail out with a fact sheet and question and answers.

Department representatives are continuing to 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.

Formal notification and consultation

Planning requirements relating to the change of use and construction works to the Caloundra Watchhouse also necessitated a formal period of public notification.

The Amendment Ministerial Infrastructure Designation proposal (AID-921-0529) contained details of the proposal for the North Coast short-term remand centre and an assessment of potential impacts. The proposal was open for submissions for 20 business days and closed Monday 15 November 2021.

The feedback received from community members during this formal consultation period will inform the planning and decision making about this proposal.

Read more about the community engagement approach for the North Coast short-term remand centre (PDF, 194 KB) North Coast short-term remand centre (DOCX, 19 KB)

Possible questions and answers about the proposed facility

What changes would I notice?

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

Who would operate the centre?

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

How would it operate?

The centre would only operate when the youth detention centres are at or near capacity. Young people remanded into custody by courts during these periods would 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 would the young people held at the centre be from?

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

Would young offenders be released from the centre?

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

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

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

Would the centre be completely secure?

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

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

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

Key contacts