$90k bill for another review of ‘failed’ program

TAXPAYERS have footed an $88,000 bill for another independent review into the state's controversial bail houses, despite a scathing report last year finding young crims were reoffending.

Consultancy Ernst and Young is undertaking the review, which will also consider alternatives to the program.

It comes after two extraordinary reports - one conducted by EY - revealed issues with the houses in Townsville, Logan and Carbrook late last year, including young offenders not following house rules.

Griffith University's evaluation cost $164,951, while the EY peer review cost $47,620.

Minister Di Farmer
Minister Di Farmer

At the time, Child Safety, Youth and Women Minister Di Farmer conceded some changes were needed and that the program may even be scrapped in a year's time if they're not working.

The revelation comes as the Government cracks down on external consultants in a bid to tighten the purse strings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said for the Government to waste more taxpayers' money on another review showed a lack of leadership in a failed policy experiment that caused more crime and put community safety at risk.

"There is no argument for (Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk keeping them open," she said.

"If the LNP wins the next election, I'll close the bail houses in a heartbeat."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington

Griffith University's report found of the 95 offenders who stayed in the facilities between December 2017 to March 31 2019, 80 had committed at least one offence after leaving.

The EY report last year found it was too early in the program to accurately assess the real benefits.

The Courier-Mail revealed in March this year that 121 of the 145 offenders who were part of the program between when it began in late 2017 and February 2020 went on to commit more crime after leaving.

Ms Farmer claimed the Government had always said the program would be independently re-evaluated once the recommended changes had been made, with a report due by the end of this year.

"The Leader of the Opposition is showing poor judgment by trying to reintroduce the LNP's failed boot camp policy, which blew out by millions of dollars," she said.

"If the independent experts find Queensland's program doesn't replicate the international success, then we'll close the SCAs (supervised community accommodation) down."

The Minister said no decisions would be made without proper planning for any impact on services and the safety of the community.




Originally published as $90k bill for another review of 'failed' program

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