More boot camps to roll out across Queensland's regions

A FORMER Special Forces instructor will be among those running boot camps for troubled youth across Queensland's regional centres.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said, as promised, new camps would be rolled out to cover youth in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and the Fraser/Sunshine Coast.

"These boot camps are an important part of our overhaul of youth justice," Mr Bleijie said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We are trying something different in Queensland because the old slap on the wrist system simply isn't working.

"Camps in Rockhampton and the Fraser/Sunshine Coast will focus on early intervention, while courts will sentence young offenders to the Cairns/Townsville camp, to divert them from detention and give them a chance to change their offending pattern."

The operators for the new sites are:

• Cairns and Townsville - Beyond Billabong, which has helped troubled young people turn their lives around for more than a decade.

• Rockhampton - the Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association (QPCYWA) has delivered targeted programs for young people for 65 years through mentoring and working with kids' families and schools.

• Fraser and Sunshine Coast - Operation Hard Yakka. Bob Davis, a former Special Forces instructor and his team have run the specialised program since 2008 and have successfully helped at-risk youth gain life and work skills.

Mr Bleijie said the Newman Government has already achieved great success with the first early intervention camp on the Gold Coast with 15 young people completing the course so far.

"All the selected organisations have proven experience in running camp style programs for young people and that was an important factor in the decision making process," he said.

"These won't be holiday camps. They will be tough but strike the right balance between teaching young offenders discipline and self-worth."

Earlier, Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne has called for a public inquiry into the tender assessment process which led to the appointment of Safe Pathways to run the Cairns Sentenced Youth Boot Camp, which was shut down within 48 hours.

The boot camp was shut down after two participants escaped and went on to allegedly terrorise a neighbour with a pair of scissors.

Shadow Minister for Corrective Services, Mr Byrne told parliament on Tuesday it was important to get to the bottom of the bungle before any new contracts for boot camps were awarded.



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