Monday, 22 March 2021
Statements by Members
Operation Hard Yakka
Deputy Speaker Mitchell, I rise to speak on a topic close your heart. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Wide Bay's Bob Davis, who runs Operation Hard Yakka, a military style youth diversion program in Wide Bay. That is not everyone's solution, but Bob has been steadfastly for over a decade supporting youth in his area. He paid an extraordinary price when he lost his son, who was working as a youth officer transporting some of these youth so they could be part of the program, in a head-on collision. The idea of hard yakka is to instil those key concepts into young men, and Bob does that so incredibly well. We all recognise here the importance in youth justice of better targeting those in the youth justice system to get employment, to facilitate better data sharing between the Commonwealth and the states, and potentially to get earlier drug testing so we can identify addiction long before it becomes intractable.
We can get this right, and Queensland needs to lead the way because of our high levels of theft and vehicle theft that you knew well in your previous career, Deputy Speaker. We need to work together and in concert with the state government. Minister Leanne Linard has shown extraordinary ability and commitment to work with the Commonwealth to find solutions, and I look forward to that progressing. We need to inject additional resources, but the Commonwealth government must do it in concert with the states and not fragment the system. That can be done. We need to start at every juvenile court hearing around the state to make sure every opportunity to work for skilling and training is offered to those youth to get them on the path of employment and out of crime.