Construction of a $27 million 16-bed facility at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre is complete, increasing youth detention centre bed capacity across the state.
Completion of the new bed facility increases statewide youth detention bed capacity from 258 beds to 274 beds across both the Brisbane and Cleveland Youth Detention Centres.
The new facility forms part of the Queensland Government’s record half a billion dollar investment in the state’s youth justice system, which also includes construction of a new $150 million youth detention centre at Wacol due for completion at the end of the year.
Since elected in 2015, the Government has committed over $210 million to youth justice infrastructure and will increase bed capacity by 33% once construction of all beds is completed this year, which is scheduled for the end of this year.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Di Farmer, said the expansion of the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre demonstrated the government’s commitment to keeping the community safe by expanding youth justice infrastructure.
“By increasing bed capacity we are sending a very clear message that young people must be held accountable for their actions and the safety of the community is our number one priority,” Minister Farmer said.
“This is in stark contrast to the LNP who did not decide to build any new YDC beds while they were in Government and had no plans to build any. Last election they even proposed to cut the youth justice budget by $150M.”
“This expansion will provide safe and secure accommodation, as well as support services for young people remanded or sentenced to youth detention, increasing the state’s capacity to 274 beds.”
Ms Farmer said completion of the Centre was uncertain after COVID-19 restrictions were announced, but QBuild, site supervisors, sub-contractors and union representatives had worked together to ensure compliance with social distancing rules.
“Adjustments were made to the way in which the site worked, including restrictions on the number of workers on the site, limits to the number of tradies per room and a wider distribution of work hours across weekends,” she said.
“While the fit out and finish took a bit longer, importantly we were able to keep tradesmen in work during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Ms Farmer said 89 full-time equivalent jobs were created as a result of the project with over 500 people working on the job, including 45 apprentices.
She said the new centre was now well placed to deliver rehabilitation and education services that focus on reducing reoffending.
“The detention centre ensures young offenders are held to account, however it also gives young people a critical opportunity to get on to a better path in life,” she said.
“That’s why the expansion of the centre also includes four extra classrooms and teaching areas to support children’s education while they’re in detention.
“This further enhances the services within the centre, which already includes behaviour programs to meet the specific needs of young people, a training facility to help teens become job ready, as well as a mental health unit and a cultural unit.
“These measures provide a balanced approach to protecting our community, while at the same time improving the life prospects of these young people.”
The new 32-bed youth detention centre at Wacol is scheduled to begin operating in late 2020. Once complete, it will increase statewide capacity to 306 beds.