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Tackling youth crime from both sides of politics

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley is keen to see more diversionary pathways for ‘at risk’ youth. Photo supplied

Tackling youth crime in the bush has been a hot topic of late and, unsurprisingly, not all sides of politics agree on the best way forward.

Leader of the NSW Nationals and Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders, said that while he is a great believer in sharing the things that are positive for our rural areas, unfortunately, the past 12 to 18 months has seen an increase in regional crime, particularly youth crime.

Recent changes to laws around youth crime have given rise to concerns – one being the focus on Moree in the quest to make inroads into the issue.

Moree was chosen, in part for their soaring crime statistics. As one example, from 2022 to 2023, break and enter offences in Moree were 840 per cent higher than the state average.

“I think part of what I’m concerned about is the focus that Moree is receiving as opposed to any other region or town in New South Wales,” Mr Saunders said.

“I think the decision to actually do something is a good one, but I think there needs to be a much broader scope of what’s being done, and I’ll keep pushing for that to happen.”

Mr Saunders, who is also the Shadow Minister for Regional New South Wales, told Rod Corfe on 2WEB that Moree isn’t the same as Bourke, which isn’t the same as Dubbo, which isn’t the same as Walgett, or Brewarrina.

“There are a few lessons we can take out of the pilot, but every town and every region have a need for its own individual approach,” Mr Saunders said.

“You can’t just have a cookie cutter approach to everything and think it will work. That’s where we see failure and we’ve seen failure in the past.” […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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