- Comprehensive package to help break the cycle of youth offending in the Kimberley
- $15 million towards an on-country residential facility to provide an alternative to detention, as well as $500,000 to plan and develop other safe place proposals
- $4.3 million to expand the McGowan Government's successful Target 120 program in the Kimberley
- $11.7 million to extend the Kimberley Schools Project to keep young people engaged with the education system
- $2.5 million for Operation Regional Shield, enabling police to deploy additional resources to parts of regional WA as required
- Package also includes boost to youth night patrols, intensive support for vulnerable families, and grants for local projects to engage youth and improve community safety
The McGowan Government today launched another step in its response to youth crime in the north of the State, committing $40.4 million in the 2022-23 State Budget to the Kimberley Youth and Community Justice Response.
The comprehensive cross-agency package will see a range of programs and initiatives rolled out to tackle youth crime and help break the cycle of reoffending in the Kimberley.
$15 million has been allocated towards an on-country residential facility for young offenders as an alternative to detention. There are several proposals being considered, including an Aboriginal led program on a Kimberley cattle station.
The State Government will work with Traditional Owners to ensure the facility provides culturally appropriate and safe interventions to support youth rehabilitation.
An additional $500,000 has been provided to progress the planning and development of other safe place residential accommodation proposals.
The package includes $4.3 million to expand the McGowan Government's successful Target 120 early intervention program, which has delivered strong results since it was launched in 2018, to four locations in the Kimberley.
This is part of a broader $11.1 million investment to roll out the program in nine additional locations around the State, eight of them in regional Western Australia.
Target 120 supports young people aged between 10 and 14 who are at risk of becoming repeat offenders, helping to steer them away from the criminal justice system.
The eight new regional locations are Broome, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby in the Kimberley, as well as Karratha, Newman, Carnarvon and Mandurah.
This brings the total number of Target 120 sites across the State to 20, boosting the McGowan Government's total investment in the successful program to $31.5 million since 2018.
The State Budget includes an additional $11.7 million to extend the Kimberley Schools Project, which is working to keep young people from the region engaged in the education system.
Commencing in 2017 and focused on targeted teaching, better early years learning, improving attendance and increased student and community engagement, the program has fostered improvements in educational outcomes for Kimberley students.
The package also includes $1 million to develop a business case to assess the feasibility of establishing a WA College of Agriculture in the Kimberley and $250,000 to support the development of further youth justice-related initiatives.
An additional $3.1 million will be provided to boost Broome Night Patrol and Youth Services, and to bolster intensive support services for vulnerable families.
A $2 million Kimberley Community Action Fund will also provide grants for local projects to better engage youth and improve community safety over the next two years. Grants of up to $100,000 will be available for eligible projects. Applications for the fund will open in May.
This investment follows the State Government's $2.5 million commitment to Operation Regional Shield, which is able to deploy additional police capability to any part of regional WA as necessary to tackle juvenile offending.
The Kimberley Youth and Community Justice Response builds on the $14.8 million the McGowan Government has already invested towards the Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy.
$6.7 million has supported the continued delivery of structured activities and night patrols in Broome, Derby, Halls Creek, Kununurra, Wyndham and Fitzroy Crossing in partnership with Aboriginal organisations and local government.
In Kununurra, 350 young people have taken part in back-to-country camps over the past two years as part of this investment.
In addition to the $40.4 million package, the McGowan Government is investing a further $30 million for the construction of a new District Support Facility for WA Police in Broome.
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Today marks a step forward in the State Government's endeavour to tackle youth crime in the Kimberley.
"We acknowledge the reasons for the problems in our north are complex and cannot be solved overnight, but we are focused on doing what we can to break the cycle of youth offending in our regions.
"Our $15 million commitment towards an on-country residential facility aims to give the justice system a genuine alternative to detention - with the opportunity to engage young people in structured work and learning.
"As an Aboriginal-led program, it will work to foster stronger connections to culture and support young people to re-establish purpose and accountability."
Comments attributed to Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk:
"Target 120 has proven to be extremely successful in supporting our most at-risk children and stamping out crime since our Government first launched the program in 2018.
"Around half of the young people involved in Target 120 to date have had no further contact with police.
"By working with at-risk children and focusing on the causes of offending, including working with their family, Target 120 is helping steer these young people away from the criminal justice system and in turn helping to create safer communities.
"The expansion of Target 120 - with a particular focus on the State's north - is part of a multi-pronged approach across government to tackle youth crime.
"Addressing issues that were generations in the making will take time, but we are determined to make lasting and meaningful change."
Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Bill Johnston:
"Night patrols in Broome, Halls Creek, Derby and Wyndham have already helped thousands of young people, transporting them from the streets to a safe place.
"The Department of Justice is working with other agencies and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to co-design safe place facilities and on-country alternatives to detention for young people."
Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:
"The McGowan Government has already put more police on our streets than ever before, while investing in important, positive diversionary initiatives to help engage at-risk young people and break the cycle of offending.
"Operation Regional Shield is about making sure the officers needed to tackle youth crime in our regions can be there - where they are needed, when they are needed.
"I've seen firsthand the incredible work WA Police are doing in our regions, not only responding to incidents to keep the community safe, but also working hard to get vulnerable young people off the street."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:
"The State Government has listened closely to the community's concerns about challenges with youth and about how we can all do better to help break the cycle.
"We need to focus on empowering young people and their families and providing culturally appropriate solutions for the community.
"I'm passionate about helping young people to understand what they can achieve with the right support, education and guidance - and today's announcement is an important step forward."
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200
Child Protection Minister's office - 6552 6600
Corrective Services Minister's office - 6552 6700
Police Minister's office - 6552 5600