Bleijie believes $129m spent on bikie laws was justified

AS Queensland's controversial "bikie" laws are set to be reviewed by a commission of inquiry later this year, our four-part special report looks into the impacts of the legislation since its introduction in 2013.

This is Part 2: The Economic Cost
 

THE Queensland Government has spent at least $129 million on policing the bikie laws and related legislation, but the man who spearheaded them believes the money is justified.

Former LNP attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie claimed the laws had had a positive effect on crime rates and Queenslanders' safety.

"I have stated publicly many times that I don't put a price tag on the safety of Queensland communities," he said.

"Crime has been significantly reduced across the state, particularly in hot spots such as the Gold Coast.

"Local business owners and residents across the state are delighted with the success of the laws and have reclaimed their cities."

At the time the laws were introduced, the former Government pledged to employ an extra 1100 police officers at cost of $358.3 million over four years.

In the 2014/15 state budget, $109.4 million was allocated to paying for 567 extra police officers recruited between 2012 and 2015. This is about 5% of the Queensland Police Operational Budget of $2 billion for that year.

In that same budget, $20 million was allocated to fund two taskforces established under the VLAD laws: Taskforce Maxima and Taskforce Takeback.

The laws also introduced mandatory 15-year sentences for those convicted under the legislation and minimum 25-year terms for gang office bearers, meaning the government could spend $1.65 million per prisoner convicted under VLAD and $2.75 million per year for office-bearers.

This is based on the latest information available on prisoner costs - the 2013 report on government services - which said in 2011/12, it cost $305 per day to keep a prisoner in jail, or about $110,000 a year.

Mr Bleijie said Queenslanders should be concerned about Labor's plans to review and potentially repeal the legislation.

"If (Labor) successfully repeals the VLAD laws, Queensland will again see an influx of criminal gangs, leading to an increase in crime and drug distribution," he said.
 



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