Community leaders today backed the launch of a petition calling on the State Government to scrap its plans for a youth detention centre in Caloundra.
Sunshine Coast MPs Jarrod Bleijie and Dan Purdie were today joined by current and former councillors, and representatives from a number of local businesses and community groups including the Chamber of Commerce, Caloundra Christian College, Caloundra RSL and Neighbourhood Watch to voice their concerns about plans to convert the Caloundra watchhouse into a jail for serious repeat juvenile offenders.
LNP Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie said the community was rightly outraged to learn that instead of a new police station and extra police officers, the State Government planned to open a youth detention centre in the middle of Caloundra.
“At the last election, the State Labor Government promised the people of Caloundra more police and a new $9 million police station, not a kiddie jail across the road from a retirement village and a school,” Mr Bleijie said.
LNP Member for Ninderry and former Sunshine Coast Child Protection Detective Dan Purdie said the community had been hoodwinked.
‘There has been zero consultation and residents have a right to feel they’ve been misled,” Mr Purdie said.
“Labor’s secret plans to build a youth detention centre were hidden in the budget papers, and now they’ve been exposed, the community rightly want to their voices to be heard.
“There is no doubt the Palaszczuk Labor government have broken the youth justice system, and this latest hairbrained idea proves they have no legitimate plan to fix it.”
Former Sunshine Coast Deputy Mayor and councillor Tim Dwyer called on the Government to dump the plan and commit to more police on the streets.
“It’s about time that the Queensland Police Service were given the respect they need with better resources and better numbers to prevent crime in the first place,” he said.
“Show some respect for the people of Caloundra, be upfront, be transparent and support them, and stop this from going ahead.”
Sunshine Coast Cr Terry Landsberg said he was “deeply concerned” at the Government’s plans for the use of the building.
“I’ll be taking this to my fellow councillors this week. On the basis of how quickly this is moving forward, we need community support and that’ll be the most important way of turning this decision around,” he said.
Golden Beach Neighbourhood Watch member Tracey Carbis described the planned youth detention centre as a “frightening prospect for our community.”
She said the Neighbourhood Watch group represented about 3500 members of the community and urged all locals to sign the petition.
Founder of Aura Safe and former NSW Police Officer Ryan Jeffcoat said he was concerned at the lack of transparency and lack of community consultation.
“The Government promised a new police station, they promised a minimum 150 new police officers for the region and they’ve delivered none of it, and they’ve hidden the cost of this in the budget to build a remand centre,” he said.
“The community’s been crying out for more police, we need more cops on the ground and they made a promise to deliver that.”
The petition is available at www.nocaloundrajail.com.au and hard copies available at 4/3 Nicklin Way, Minyama QLD 4575.