New bail and performance crime laws passed to prevent youth crime


The NSW Government has strengthened bail laws to help prevent repeat youth crime and introduced a new performance crime offence targeting those who advertise certain crimes on social media.

Parliament passed legislative changes last night to amend the Bail Act 2013 to include a temporary additional bail test for young people between 14 and 18 charged with committing certain serious break and enter offences or motor vehicle theft offences while on bail for similar offences.

Under the change, a bail authority such as police, magistrates and judges will need to have a high degree of confidence that the young person will not commit a further serious indictable offence while on bail before granting bail.

The bail amendments are a temporary measure that will sunset after 12-months. The laws will be monitored and evaluated by the Department of Communities and Justice utilising the data and expertise of the Bureau of Crimes Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

The government has also created a ‘performance crime’ offence in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) imposing an additional penalty of two years’ imprisonment for people who commit motor vehicle theft or break and enter offences and share material to advertise their involvement in the criminal behaviour.

It is expected these new provisions will come into effect within two weeks and will undergo a statutory review that will take place two years after it commences.

Earlier this month the government announced a $26.2 million package of reforms and initiatives to support community safety and wellbeing, particularly in regional NSW where crime rates remain higher than in metro areas, with a focus on enhancing early intervention and prevention programs for young people.

It will invest $13.4 million for a targeted response in Moree to address crime, support young people and improve community safety.

This will act as a pilot program, and if the approach proves successful will inform actions to address similar concerns in other regional communities and will go hand in hand with broader regional crime prevention initiatives.

This will include an investment of $12.9 million to fund a new range of state-wide regional crime prevention initiatives including:

  • Expansion of Youth Action Meetings (YAMs) in nine Police Districts.
  • Expansion of the Safe Aboriginal Youth Patrol Program (SAY) to an additional five Closing the Gap (CTG) priority locations (to be determined in consultation with communities), reducing the risk of young Aboriginal people being victims of crime, and the risk they will become persons of interest in relation to a crime.

The Government will also continue the roll out of $7.5 million in Justice Reinvestment grants with grant funding available to recipients as early as June 2024.

These reforms will help protect the community and lift support for young people and disadvantaged communities.

In addition, the Legislative Assembly Committee on Law and Safety will undertake an inquiry into community safety in regional and rural communities.

Quotes attributable to NSW Attorney General Michael Daley:

“This government listens to the people of New South Wales and is committed to meaningfully and comprehensively addressing problems and the concerns people have.

“These bail laws have been purposefully designed to address repeated alleged offending by young people aged between 14 and 18 who have been charged with serious break and enter, motor vehicle theft, while on bail for another offence of that type.

“The government is aware of concerns about tightening bail laws for young people and it has approached this change cautiously in light of the potentially serious consequences for young people and, in particular, Aboriginal young people.

“This is why the change is time limited and relates to young people who are already alleged to have committed at least one offence while on bail for another relevant offence.

“The new ‘post and boast’ offence targets performance crime – where offenders post footage of their law-breaking online – in connection with car crime and break and enter offences.

“This behaviour is unacceptable and has to stop. People have a right to sleep safe in their beds in the sanctity of their home and should not have to face being retraumatised, ridiculed and shamed with images of the crime being made into a warped kind of ‘entertainment’.

“These changes are the first part of this government’s significant and multifaceted response to regional crime.”

/Public Release. View in full here.