New department tasked to fix youth justice crisis
A NEW youth justice department has been set up - to be headed by Deputy Police Commissioner Bob Gee - as the Palaszczuk Government attempts to get on top of the children in watch houses crisis.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the move today, insisting Mr Gee would bring "fresh eyes" to the issue.
"Bob Gee is well-known to Queenslanders. He is a person of enormous capability.
"There is now a separate department of youth justice and bob gee is going to head that department and this matter will be fixed," she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said she would not be appointing a new minister to head the department, however, with current Child Safety Minister Di Farmer to be responsible for both.
"These issues cross a number of government responsibilities: police, courts, child safety and education," she said
"I want one person with one job: to co-ordinate and see these programs delivered.
"Bob Gee is the perfect person to get the job done.
"When it comes to marshalling resources and sending them where they're needed, Bob Gee has proven himself one of the best in the world."
She said the new department would use existing staff and there are no changes to ministerial responsibilities.
Mr Gee will start work on Monday.
PREMIER CALLS YOUTH JUSTICE CRISIS MEETING
DIRECTORS-general from across Government have been called to a meeting with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this afternoon over the youth justice crisis that has led to children as young as 10 being housed in watch houses.
"The numbers are coming down. That is a good sign but if course we need to do more," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Later on this afternoon I will be speaking to all the directors-general.
"I want everybody working on this issue. I want collaboration across the Government.
"I expect that and I will be delivering that firm message to them this afternoon."
It comes after the Government faced three days of grilling in parliament over the saga.
Dozens of children are currently housed in watch houses instead of in youth detention centres due to overcrowding.