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Child killers to face tougher penalties under new Queensland laws

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Tougher laws that would deny child killers from applying for parole during a life sentence are being proposed by the State Government.

There has been widespread outrage across Queensland after Barrie Watts, who was sentenced to life for killing Noosa schoolgirl Sian Kingi in 1987, has made a bid for parole.

But Police Minister Mark Ryan is proposing child murderers and people who kill more than one person be denied such a right, in what he is describing as the “toughest laws in the nation”, should they pass.

Under the legislation, the Parole Board President would be able to block such criminals from obtaining parole for a period of up to ten years.

There is no limit to the number of declarations that can be issued to them. 

Mr Ryan says it means they will have to prove they do not pose a threat to the community before they are even considered eligible for parole.

No other jurisdiction in Australia has the power to declare no parole consideration for a period of up to ten years, and with the potential of further periods of up to ten years.

And no other jurisdiction targets both child killers serving a life sentence and multiple murderers serving a life sentence in this way,” Mr Ryan says. 

In a statement, the Queensland Government says it is introducing these new laws as a way to ensure the safety of every member of the community and to protect the families, friends and the broader community from unnecessary trauma.

Mr Ryan says these murderers will now be kept behind bars longer. 

And I can’t emphasise enough the extent to which these proposed laws are aimed at reducing the level of trauma experienced by the families of the victims of violent crimes.

The tough new laws that we are proposing are about protecting the victim’s families and protecting the community.”