Kelvin Davis reveals no business case undertaken to determine cost, timeframes of new youth justice policy

  • 19/07/2023

Kelvin Davis says a business case still has to be completed to determine the cost and timeframes of a newly-announced youth justice policy.

The Children's Minister announced on Tuesday a new policy to build two new youth justice units. He also proposed changing the law to include broader search powers to prevent contraband, improved family group conferences with additional resources and automatic referral of young people involved in ram raids or smash and grabs to family group conferences.

During the announcement, he said it was "no secret there have been some serious issues in youth justice".

The ideas, however, were slammed by the Opposition after the Government failed to answer questions about how much the new facilities would cost or how long the policies would take to implement.

Responding to the Government's announcement on AM Early, ACT Party deputy leader Brooke van Velden said the policy showed Labour "deserve to be gone in 87 days".

"People have been saying they don't feel safe on the streets for years under this Government and only a few days before the election, they try and walk out a watered-down, uncosted policy."

During an interview on AM about the Government's new youth justice policy, Davis was asked when the new facilities would be up and running - and what the cost would be.

"Yeah, so, first of all, in New Zealand, our facilities are about 20 to 25 years old and there hasn't been any investment in them in that time," he said. "In Australia, they invest every decade or so - there's an improvement to the facilities. There will be a business case that is developed to work out the exact design of these two units and the costs, as well as the model of care that is needed to operate them."

Kelvin Davis.
Kelvin Davis. Photo credit: AM

Davis said the Government needed to make sure "the model of care and the physical design are complementary to each other".

"So we don't know the model of care, we don't know when they're going to be built and we don't know the cost - is that right?" AM co-host Laura Tupou asked.

Davis dodged the question, saying there was currently "no continuum of care" for young people in youth justice facilities.

"I believe that's wrong, I believe young people have different needs and some will be higher than others so we need to make sure that the model of care meets the higher needs that some young people are presenting."

Watch the full video for more.