Wednesday, 20 March 2024

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed the passage of the bail reform legislation through the Legislative Assembly late last night, representing the first tranche of the $13.4 million law and order package recently announced for Moree.

Mr Marshall said he was proud to support the Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill 2024, using his contribution during the debate to urge his parliamentary colleagues to leave ‘partisan politics’ at the door when approaching the issue of spiralling youth crime.

“I was initially reluctant to speak on this bill, not because I don’t support it, but because of the politicking that inevitably happens along the way,” Mr Marshall said.

“This targeted legislation toughens bail laws for young offenders, making it harder for repeat offenders to continue to be bailed by the local court for the two most prevalent serious indictable offences.

“This issue of offenders continually being bailed by the courts is a massive frustration for local police, victims of crime and the general community and statically is driving the vast majority of criminal activity in the region.

“I once again publicly commend the Premier for acting so swiftly, to bring about critical changes, listening to feedback from the Moree community, myself and Mayor Mark Johnson, following his recent visit to Moree.

“The bill is part of a whole-of-government response that looks at early intervention, at support programs, at better co-ordinating services and a new youth bail facility – which we’ve never seen before in the bush.

“The bail facility will be a halfway house between releasing young offenders back onto the streets, where they statistically reoffend, or sending them to a detention facility, providing them with much needed support in the interim and keeping them off the streets and from the possibility of committing more crime.

“The ‘post and boast’ provisions within the bill are also excellent which will target young offenders who hijack social media to gloat about their criminal activity.”

Mr Marshall said the government moved swiftly to draft and introduce the legislation, which was comprehensive and nuanced, listening directly to community feedback.

“Unless you make a change, nothing is going to change and we are going to make this an absolute winner for our community and hopefully the rest of regional NSW,” he said.

“I have sat down and spoken with victims of crime, perpetrators of crime, parents of perpetrators of crime, and those who feel like prisoners in their own homes and I have no doubt they will be pleased with the government’s response.

“I acknowledge the many views on this issue, and I respect those who believe this package goes too far, those who argue on the other side that it doesn’t go far enough.

“The package is not the panacea, nor is it designed to be, and the rubber has to hit the road somewhere before the package is rolled out more widely.

“As the local member, I can only support the bill and I can only be appreciative for the government bringing it forward.

“Our community is proud but is not too proud to say, ‘We have a problem, a bloody big problem, and we need help.’

“I am prepared, the mayor is prepared and the community is prepared to work with anyone, regardless of political stripe, who is determined to partner with us to fix the problem.

“For the people I represent, it is a huge opportunity that they cannot miss out on.

“As I have said many times, it is too important an issue to end in failure so we will make it work.”

Mr Marshall said the bill passed the Legislative Assembly last night, with amendments, and will be shortly debated in the Legislative Council.

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