Inmates climbed onto the roof and caused damage to several air vents, air condition units and a security camera.
Inmates climbed onto the roof and caused damage to several air vents, air condition units and a security camera.

REVEALED: How much the Wacol prison riot cost taxpayers

TAXPAYERS have been slugged with a half a million damage bill for riots at the Wacol youth detention centres.

Every hour prisoners stood on the roof at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre in January during a significant riot, cost taxpayers $6202.58.

The riots were thought to be related to overcrowding.

The figures have been revealed in the Attorney-General's answer to a question on notice posed by the LNP's Ian Walker in February.

It comes as the State Government faces criticism on prison overcrowding and the delayed release the McMillan Review into Youth Detention.

In February the Shadow Attorney-General demanded to know how many lockdowns had occurred and the cost of damages to the facility.

The January riot alone - in which three inmates spent 12 hours on the roof and significant property was damaged including air vents, air conditioning units and security cameras - cost $74,431.

Already this year the bill, including the cost of the January riot, has hit $114,645. The total figure since January 2015 is $474,530.

As part of her formal response on March 30, Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the State Government had committed $14.6 million to upgrade security systems at the facility.

It will replace the old system, installed in 1999 and is expected to reduce the number of incidents, and damage, caused to the centre. 

"The upgrade will comprise all hardware and software systems for door monitoring, electronic door control, CCTV monitoring and recording and perimeter alarms," Ms D'Ath said.

"The provision of such a significant investment into the security of the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre is testament to the commitment of this government to ensure the safety and well-being of young people and staff who work in these challenging environments on a daily basis."

But Mr Walker, who is in Townsville this week speaking with prison guards injured during riots, said the government was dealing with a dangerous situation.

Mr Walker said Ms D'Ath received the McMillan Review into Youth Detention almost five months ago but had not released it publicly.

>>INTERACTIVE: Where Queensland inmates call home

"It is a dangerous mix of hostility and overcrowding which will be disastrous for a situation that is clearly already highly volatile," Mr Walker said.

"Ms D'Ath is sitting on multiple reports and reviews into what has gone wrong in youth detention because she has no clue how to fix the issues.

"We need to see this report soon or it will be so out of date its recommendations will be of historical interest only."

Ms D'Ath said her government had nothing to hide and was committed to being open and transparent. 

"We do not hide from the fact that there has been about $115,000 worth of damage caused at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre to date this year," she said. 

"It is also shocking that we do not know the total amount of damage caused in 2013 and 2014 because the LNP hid these figures with the routine maintenance and repairs.

"This is absolutely disgraceful."

**The McMillan Review is an independent review into Queensland's youth detention centres and was announced in August 2016.

The review examined the practices, operation and oversight the state's two youth detention centres in Townsville and Brisbane.

Cost of damages at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre

  • 2015: $105,057
  • 2016: $254,828
  • 2017: $114,645 ($74,431 for January riots)

Total: $474,530

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