HORRIFIC: The Gympie District Court healt with several cases of child sex abuse and exploitation at its sittings late last month.
HORRIFIC: The Gympie District Court healt with several cases of child sex abuse and exploitation at its sittings late last month. Patrick Woods

'Community needs protection from pedophiles': Perrett

MEMBER for Gympie Tony Perrett says a national approach is needed on the possible introduction of a public sex offenders register.

Mr Perrett was responding to reports from Maryborough ALP MP Bruce Saunders that he would like to consult with the community on its views around a Queensland register.

Last month's sittings of the Gympie District Court dealt with several horrific cases of child sex abuse and exploitation in this region.

"Our job is to protect innocent children and the bottom line is the community needs to be protected from pedophiles," Mr Perrett said.

"Unfortunately we live in a world with increased mobility across states with sex offenders and pedophiles being able to take up residence interstate.

"That is why a national approach needs to be taken to this issue.

"While no one has raised a Public Sex Offenders' Register directly with me it is important to ensure that Queensland is the safest place in the nation to live, work and raise a family.

"That is why the LNP Opposition has always been committed to placing a high priority on the safety of our community.

"I am always supportive of any measures which enhance both the safety and the sense of safety of our community.

"The concerns that people raise with me are more broadly around worsening crime figures.

"Everyone knows the State Labor Government is soft on crime. It is continually winding back many of the previous government's successful crime prevention policies.

"The Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker was in Gympie only two weeks ago seeking feedback from solicitors, court officials and judges about what is needed to done to address the worsening crime figures.

"Mr Walker advised that crime figures in the Gympie statistical area for 12 months to August 16 showed big increases in all categories of crime including offences against the person (including sexual assaults and stalking) rose 70%."

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said Queensland already had the toughest laws in the nation when it came to the reporting obligations of convicted paedophiles.

He said child sex offenders were already placed on a national law enforcement register, but he could understand why parents would want to be able to see where convicted paedophiles were living in order to safeguard their children.

Vigilante justice would be one concern he would have with a public register, Mr Saunders said, but he admitted he was less concerned about the welfare of paedophiles than he was about the welfare of innocent people who might be inadvertently targeted because they lived in a property once inhabited by someone on the register.

Mr Saunders said he had heard of such cases where innocent people had become targets and that was one factor he would need to consider, as well as the views of the community.

He said even with a public register, parents would still need to be vigilant, adding that abuse was often perpetrated by people known to the victim's family who may have no criminal record.