Queensland is a safe place, its police minister says, but the government wants to make it “even safer” by driving out the “criminal gangs and thugs”.
Outlaw motorcycle gangs will dominate the Cabinet agenda on Monday morning, especially how to stop them.
Once in the shadows, bikie business has increasingly stepped into the spotlight on the Gold Coast from shopping centre shootings to storming police stations.
Jack Dempsey, backed by the Premier who is still in Asia on a trade mission, said the government would now work on ways on pushing the gangs out of Queensland.
“These criminal gangs and thugs have got no place in Queensland and we will be doing whatever we can to ensure that police have resources and we have legislation is place,” he said.
“And today we are going to bring those issues of resourcing and new legislation through Cabinet to make sure that people who want to bring criminal activity or thuggery into the streets of the whole of this state have no place to hide.
“And we’ll do whatever resources we can to ensure that Queensland maintains its credibility as one of the safest places in Australia to work, visit and enjoy your time.”
There are questions about what the government can do. Firearm laws have already been tightened, unexplained wealth laws came into effect earlier this month and the Bligh government’s anti-association laws, once maligned by the Liberal National Party, have had a few days in court.
But after a public brawl and subsequent intimidation tactics used against police at the Southport Police Station on Friday night, during peak school holiday time, the government has been left with no other choice than to do more.
Surfers Paradise LNP MP John-Paul Langbroek said there was “obviously a problem on the Gold Coast” but added the government was “determined to sort it out”.
He said while people were “safe in their houses”, the perception the Gold Coast was unsafe and the reasons for that perception needed to be addressed.
“There is this fear now, potentially when you are out in public that things can happen,” he said.
“Whether you are at a shopping centre, or whether you are out on the street at Surfers Paradise or Broadbeach – and that’s not something that we want to propagate as a view that people can have about the Gold Coast.”
As a start, $10 million over six months has been allocated to Gold Coast policing resources to help establish task forces and boost numbers. A further $10 million will be spent in the following six months.
An additional 60 police officers have been sent to the Gold Coast “on top of normal numbers” and Mr Dempsey is expected to announce more after the weekly Cabinet meeting wraps up on Monday afternoon.
“We will be bringing forward the same level of uncomfortability that these thugs and criminals have brought to the streets of the Gold Coast,” Mr Dempsey said in his trademark use of language.
“But these will be laws for the whole of Queensland, there will be no place for them to hide.”
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