15 February 2024

Queensland Government steps up fight against youth knife crime

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knives and machetes seized

Law reform is underway to help keep knives and other weapons out of the hands of minors. Photo: File.

It will become an offence to sell knives and other items to minors in Queensland, as the State Government moves to increase public safety and reduce youth offending.

Designed to protect the community and minimise offending by reducing young people’s access to certain items, the legislation introduced into parliament will prohibit the sale of ‘controlled items’ including, for example, knives, replica firearms such as certain gel blasters, axes and machetes to anyone under the age of 18.

The legislative reforms were initially proposed in November and would make it an offence to sell knives, certain other bladed items and replica firearms, including gel blasters, to anyone under 18.

However Premier Steven Miles has indicated his government will seek to legislate the changes as soon as possible in response to ongoing youth crime issues.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Queensland Government was committed to prioritising the safety and wellbeing of Queenslanders.

“These proposed laws will be another tool to prevent potentially dangerous items from getting into the hands of young offenders, to protect the public,” he said.

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“Retailers found to be breaching the ban could face a penalty of more than $20,000 for a first offence.”

Juveniles using false identification to purchase weapons can also be dealt with, with a maximum penalty of 25 penalty units or $3870 fine.

To further curb the notoriety of weapon possession among juveniles, it will be prohibited for knives and other items to be sold or advertised in a way that suggests the item is ‘suitable for combat’, intended to be used for violence, or likely to stimulate or encourage violent or criminal behaviour. This offence has a proposed maximum penalty of 25 penalty units or $3870.

The amendments aim to reduce the accessibility of these dangerous items to young people, disrupting and deterring violent offences, therefore enhancing community safety.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the police service welcomed the proposed laws.

“These laws reducing access to weapons will no doubt save lives and prevent senseless violence involving young offenders,” she said.

“The prohibition of advertisement of weapons in a violent manner, will help us combat the notoriety of being armed.

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“While ensuring retailers are required to properly secure controlled weapons, will make it even harder for dangerous items to end up in the wrong hands.”

Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers echoed that support.

“Through my work in the Juvenile Aid Bureau I saw the hurt and suffering that can come when weapons are used by young people in a fit of rage that then cripples the victims, offenders and their families with lifelong consequences,” he said. “I’ve never heard a justifiable excuse for any child to carry a weapon.

“These new laws will make it safer for frontline police and assist officers in protecting the community.”

Theo Foukkare, CEO Australian Association of Convenience Stores, congratulated the government on its move.

“The Australian Association of Convenience Stores, which represents more than 1500 petrol and convenience stores in Queensland, congratulates the government on this new legislation.

“Our retail members have welcomed these changes as they will go a long way to reducing access to the use of knives in crime-related incidents being experienced across all retail settings.

“This new legislation will ultimately help protect communities and all frontline retail staff.”

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