Construction starts on youth detention facility at Woodford


Artist impression ONLY. Design not final.

  • Construction has begun on a new Youth Detention Centre at Woodford.
  • BESIX Watpac (QLD) Pty Ltd will manage the design and construction of the new 80-bed youth detention centre.
  • As a therapeutic centre it includes more home-like accommodation units; consultation and treatment rooms; multi-purpose spaces for education, skills development, and training; areas for physical activity, green spaces, and spaces for cultural connection.

RENDERS (artist Impression only)

Premier Steven Miles and Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer today marked the start of construction on a new 80 bed youth detention centre at Woodford – one of three new facilities being delivered by the government.

It’s important infrastructure needed to keep Queenslanders safe, as the government focuses on prevention, intervention and detention.

Lead contractor BESIX Watpac (QLD) Pty Ltd has been appointed for stage one of the design and construction, with the sod turned today to kick off the enabling works.

Major construction will follow, with the centre expected to be complete by 2026.

Hundreds of new jobs will be supported during the construction and once open, it will support long-term employment opportunities in the Woodford community.

A site within the Woodford Correctional Precinct was announced as the preferred location in May 2023.

With a projected construction cost of up to $627.61 million, the centre will include therapeutic design elements aimed at supporting the rehabilitation of young people and improving community safety.

These include smaller, more home-like accommodation units; consultation and treatment rooms; multi-purpose spaces for education, skills development, and training; as well as areas for physical activity, green spaces, and spaces for cultural connection.

We will be working with stakeholders including First Nations groups in service delivery design.

The design of the centre also considers and incorporates First Nations knowledge and culture, with the Jinibara People Aboriginal Corporation providing guidance and expertise on important elements including spaces for community, cultural connection, gardens, green spaces, vegetation, landscaping and wayfinding.

The Government is also progressing the construction of a 40-bed facility near Cairns and a youth remand facility at Wacol.

The new Youth Detention Centre at Woodford, plus the proposed new 40-bed centre near Cairns, forecast to be operational in 2027, will add 120 beds to the state’s youth detention capacity.

By 2026, the government will have almost doubled the number of youth detention beds since coming to office in 2015.

Quotes attributable to Premier Steven Miles

“I know how important it is for Queenslanders to feel safe, and to be safe. It is an absolute priority for my Government.

“We want serious repeat offenders and young people who commit major crimes to be reprimanded, and that includes detention.

“The new centre at Woodford will be a secure location that detention and rehabilitation can occur, with a focus on education, vocation and job readiness skills.

“In turn, we hope young people leave detention with the skills to live productively in the community, to feel confident in themselves and motivated to turn their life around.

“A big focus will be developing and delivering cultural connection programs in partnership with Elders, which we know can make a big difference in the lives of young First Nations people.

“My government will continue to drive important prevention, intervention and detention reforms to keep Queenslanders safe from violent repeat offenders.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Youth Justice, Di Farmer:

“Youth detention centres play a critical role in protecting Queenslanders, while also preparing young people for their transition back into their communities.

“This therapeutic state-of-the-art facility will offer improved facilities and resources to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of young people.

“Therapeutic models of care work to address the complex underlying causes of offending, with an emphasis on individualised treatment plans. If we see these young people in detention we want to ensure we don’t see them back again.

“Importantly, I want to see an emphasis on mental health support, because we know many young offenders have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect, are often key triggers which lead to offending

“We also know that young people who leave therapeutic detention have a reduction in recidivism when they have completed a detention sentence.”

/Public Release. View in full here.