WA Premier steps up condemnation of juvenile ‘terrorists’ at Banksia Hill detention centre

WA Premier Mark McGowan says the Banksia Hill inmates must learn the actions have consequences.

WA Premier Mark McGowan says the Banksia Hill inmates must learn the actions have consequences. Photo: AAP

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has doubled down on his criticism of young inmates involved in a riot at the Banksia Hill detention centre, adding he is sick of calls for inquiries into the troubled facility.

Several detainees escaped their cells on Tuesday night, gaining access to the grounds of the Perth centre before climbing onto the roof.

The riot, the latest of a series at the centre, ended after armed officers were sent in.

Last week, Mr McGowan described the incident as a “form of terrorism”, adding that medical conditions such as foetal alcohol spectrum disorder were being used as “an excuse” for detainees’ actions.

He continued that rhetoric on Sunday, saying the time for excuses was over.

“We need to actually hold people to account for what they do,” Mr McGowan said.

“Tthe juveniles need to get the message, it’s not OK. It is not acceptable to engage in this sort of conduct.”

Break the Cycle, which campaigns against the treatment of children in the WA justice system, organised a protest outside the youth detention centre on Sunday.

Riot police storm strife-torn youth detention centre

The group called on Mr McGowan to take back his “insensitive” comments.

“Someone with blatant ignorance of trauma and mental health should not be able to make decisions,” founder Rosa Hicks said in a statement.

“It’s outrageous that the state is putting children in solitary confinement and then acting surprised when it pushes children over the edge.”

Aboriginal, legal and health experts have all condemned Mr McGowan for comparing young inmates to terrorists.

A class action involving children and young adults detained at Banksia Hill has been launched, alleging mistreatment akin to torture, including long spells of solitary confinement.

But Mr McGowan denied there was any need for an inquiry into Banksia Hill, saying he was sick of inquiries and the system was improving every day.

He said children were detained at Banksia Hill only as a last resort, normally after committing serious or multiple offences.

Mr McGowan maintained it was wrong for activists to say they should be released.

“The only reason you end up there is because of your actions,” he said. “You need to be held accountable for your actions.”

He said the centre offered programs and pathways for detainees so they could “turn their lives around”.


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.