Government “has no mandate” for tightening bail laws for children, says Byrne

Government “has no mandate” for tightening bail laws for children, says Byrne
Image: NSW Premier Chris Minns. Bianca de Marchi, AAP Image



Inner West Mayor and senior Labor figure Darcy Byrne has taken a firm stance against his parliamentary colleagues, stating that the state government “has no mandate” for passing legislation to tighten bail laws for children.

The matter will be brought to the NSW Labor Conference in July, where the mayor will table an urgency motion to repeal the laws and urge for funding and implementation of evidence-based juvenile justice programs instead.

“There’s been a real outpouring of emotion from Labor Party members and social justice advocates who are shocked and saddened that the NSW Government is willing to incarcerate even more Aboriginal kids,” he said.

“Worse still, these laws will affect children across Sydney and NSW. In addressing localised youth crime in some regional communities, the Government’s legislation will result in children from Glebe, Waterloo, Blacktown, and Campbelltown being unnecessarily incarcerated,” he continued.

The new laws, which were passed in response to worsening crime in regional areas, will introduce an extra bail test for teenagers aged between 14 and 18 who are charged with committing serious break-and-enter offences or car theft while on bail for the same offences.

There will also be a new offence for “posting and boasting” for adults and children alike. Offenders will receive two years jail time for committing break-and-enter offences or car theft and posts videos of themselves to social media sites.

The legislation has been widely criticised with Aboriginal Legal Service CEO Karly Warner describing the new laws as a “devastating betrayal of Aboriginal children in NSW”.

Ms Warner has similarly said that the new laws are simply the “beginning of a major campaign that will not end until the laws are scrapped”.

Echoing her promise of a fight ahead, Mr Byrne said, “Labor Party members who believe in overcoming Indigenous injustice have no choice but to bring this fight on to the Conference floor.”

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