Division 5 candidate Heath Sander speaking at the KCCI’s Candidates’ Forum in Kingaroy last month

March 7, 2024

South Burnett Regional Council candidate Heath Sander has called for a curfew to be imposed on young people aged under 17 in a bid to curb youth crime.

“Youth crime is everywhere,” Mr Sander, the Division 5 candidate, wrote on Facebook.

“If elected l will propose a local government curfew for youths under 17 years of age on the streets from 10:00pm to 6:00am without due cause. This will support police of the region and reduce crime for residents who are fed up.”

Division 5 covers Murgon and surrounding areas.

Mr Sander told southburnett.com.au he understood youth crime was a Statewide problem but he believed Council could create a bylaw to impose a curfew, saying it had been done before, following the death of Murgon publican Dermot Tiernan in 1993.

A 16-year-old youth was later convicted of manslaughter over this incident.

* * *

Youth crime has been a topic of concern for Murgon residents for some time.

Queensland Police’s specialist Taskforce Guardian were despatched to the South Burnett late last year after a spate of car thefts and break-ins in the Murgon area.

Eight officers from Taskforce Guardian joined local detectives and uniformed police in Murgon, Cherbourg, Wondai and Kingaroy between November 14-21.

The operation resulted in the arrest of 25 juveniles allegedly linked to 102 offences: eight counts of unlawful entry, nine counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, 35 charges related to other property offences, one robbery charge, three counts of assault, 16 counts of breach of bail and 20 other offences.

And it is not the first time there have been calls for a youth curfew.

In 2019, then-Murgon Business Development Association (MBDA) president Leo Geraghty petitioned State Parliament to impose a curfew:

Queensland residents draw to the attention of the House continuing concerns about the level of youth related crime in Murgon; young people being unsupervised on the street after 10pm; insufficient staffing levels at the Murgon Police Station on weekends; and ineffective soft-on-crime sentences for young offenders through the court system.

Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to consider additional strategies to combat youth crime such as a youth curfew of 10 pm for the township of Murgon; additional police to be rostered for weekend night shifts; additional police on the streets of Murgon between 10 pm and 5 am; and tougher sentencing for youth offenders.

The petition, sponsored by Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, attracted 423 signatures.

In 2017, then-South Burnett Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff responded to a request from the MBDA to investigate a curfew to stop young people wandering the town’s streets at night.

At the time, Cr Duff said the South Burnett Regional Council did not have any legal power to introduce curfews.

Instead, any curfew would need to be legislated by the State Government and if it were, it could not be for an individual town – it would need to apply across the State.

Cr Duff said she thought it was unlikely the State Government would introduce such legislation because it would impact too many innocent young people.

“Young people coming back from a travelling sporting event or working late at a takeaway, for example, would be breaking the law if a curfew was introduced,” she said.

“Police have the power to round up young people out at night, and they do exercise it.

“Curfews can also be put on juvenile offenders as a condition of bail.

“This system targets individual offenders, not innocent young people.”

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2 Responses to "Candidate Calls For Youth Curfew"

  1. Fully agree with Sue – and not only all Divisions of the South Burnett since youth crime is a statewide problem.

    The first people responsible for these young offenders is not the State but the parents. If they cannot control their kids, how can the Government – wherever or whichever it is?

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