Thursday, June 13, 2024

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HomeIssue 10Youth bail laws strengthened

Youth bail laws strengthened


Today’s Youth Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 will strengthen bail laws, expand prescribed offences and give more powers to police through electric monitoring.

Family Responsibility Agreements will be court ordered and will make sure families are accountable and provide a home environment that does not contribute to youth offending.

Judges will be able to order families of troubled youths to participate in family group conferencing and counselling, education or training, housing management and financial counselling or on-country programs.

If a young person commits a serious breach of bail it will be revoked and they will be taken into remand. A serious breach of bail will include re-offending while on bail, breaching certain electronic monitoring conditions and curfew, failure to attend court, and failing to complete youth diversion.

No presumption of bail will be given to offences such as unlawful entry, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, assault of a worker, assault of police and other serious offences.

Judges will have information on breaches of bail.

Young people behind the wheel of a car can be breath tested the same as adults when driving. Amendments will remove the requirement of a responsible adult being present for a breath-test to occur.

If a young offender fails to complete their diversion, they will have to go back before the courts and have their case reconsidered.

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Nicole Manison.

PHOTO Labor Party.


UPDATE 1.20pm

An alliance known as the Justice Reform Initiative has written an open letter to the Chief Minister and Opposition Leader saying the policies are misguided and will only increase the level of incarceration and crime: “The experience of incarceration, even for very short periods including on remand increases the likelihood of further offending,” the letter says.

The alliance includes Pat Anderson AO, human rights advocate; Richard Coates, former magistrate; Ted Egan AO, singer songwriter and former Administrator of the Northern Territory; Olga Havnen, Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin; Tom Pauling AO QC, former magistrate, Solicitor-General and NT Administrator; and Robert Tickner AO, former Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister.


  1. Aside from the arguments about the effectiveness of band aid, punitive measures … I wonder how the Family Responsibility Agreements will work when the parents of these children are homeless, waiting on the housing list (which takes six years to be allocated).
    Isn’t it a basic responsibility of the NT Government to ensure these families at least have safe housing?
    Any changes are pointless if families don’t have their own, safe spaces to go at night. I wish the newly announced Kilgariff Estate extension could be for public housing.


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