Farmers Welcome Youth Crime Reforms

Farmers have welcomed the Minns Government’s $26.2 million package of reforms to address young offenders as regional youth crime rates continue to soar.

On Tuesday the NSW Government announced a series of sweeping reforms to address youth crime in regional NSW, including a $13.4 million pilot program to tackle crime in the northern NSW town of Moree, and a further $12.9 million in regional crime prevention initiatives for the rest of the state.

NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee spokesman Garry Grant said the new reforms had come as welcome news to regional and rural communities as socioeconomic disadvantage deepened, and rural crime rates soared.

“These young offenders are often violent and reckless in their behaviour, and they are also costing landholders and businesses millions of dollars every year, through both loss of goods and increased insurance costs,” Mr Grant said.

“We all deserve to feel safe and secure in our homes, on our properties and in our communities, so it’s pleasing to see action taken to crack down on the youth crime which is causing such significant harm in the regions.

“This behaviour of stealing cars or breaking into homes and businesses and then sharing these exploits on social media is extremely concerning, and there needs to be more severe consequences if we want to reduce crime and curb the harm caused by repeat offenders.

“Sadly, without effective interventions to address opportunistic crimes in regional communities, farmers will potentially face increased on-farm theft and trespass moving forward.”

With city dwellers now less likely to be a victim of crime than those living in the bush, Mr Grant said rural and regional NSW needed all the resources available to shift the dial on crime moving forward.

“In 2020, a survey found 81 per cent of farmers* had reported being a victim of farm crime – whether that’s trespass, vehicle theft, or worse,” Mr Grant said.

“We need boots on the ground and real, considered initiatives in place to combat these rising rates of crime, and concerningly violent crime, in rural and regional areas of the state, or else the problem will simply spiral beyond the point of no return.

“The Minns Government reforms tackling youth crime are a big step forward in this fight, but there’s a lot more that will need to be done in terms of achieving real and sustained change towards better community safety for all of us in the bush.”

Report rural crime to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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