In recent developments within New South Wales (NSW), the Labor government, led by Premier Chris Minns, has introduced significant legislative reforms through the Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill 2024 specifically aimed to target youth crime. These proposed changes have ignited a fiery debate across both political and social platforms. This blog post delves into what are the proposed law changes, the motivations behind them, and the widespread criticism they have gained.

Read more about bail by clicking here.

If you have been charged with an offence and want to apply for Bail, it is critical to access trusted legal support. The lawyers here at National Criminal Lawyers® can assist you in your matter, whether it is applying for bail or negotiating bail conditions, our lawyers strive to achieve the best outcome for all their clients.


This Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill 2024 has not been enacted at this stage and remains a Bill and is hence not enforceable as of 25 March 2024.

What will be Changed?

The Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill 2024 introduce significant amendments to the Bail Act 2013 and the Crimes Act 1900, aimed at addressing youth crime more harshly within NSW.

The first major change involves the insertion of section 22C into the Bail Act 2013, establishing an extra consideration which must be made by the Bail authority for youths aged 14 to 18 who commit specific offences such as motor theft or serious break and enter while on bail. This proposed amendment requires the bail authority to evaluate the likelihood of the offender reoffending, among other factors, as per Division 2 of the Bail Act 2013.

The second significant amendment introduces a new section 154K to the Crimes Act 1900, creating the offence of “performance crime.” This targets individuals who commit a relevant offence and subsequently share images, footage, or material of the act on social media or through other online platforms. Offenders found guilty of a performance crime face the maximum penalty for the actual main offence plus an additional two years.

These reforms are alongside a broader $26.2 million package of initiatives intended to “address youth crime in regional NSW”.

The government has further ruled out raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years, a factor that has been a point of difference between NSW and the International Community.


Reasoning Behind the Changes

The NSW government argues that there is a pressing need to tackle rising crime rates with a particular focus on youth-driven offences and performance offences. Attorney General Micheal Daley highlighted that despite more youth ending up behind bars under the new amendments, the government was compelled to take such drastic steps.

These reforms are presented as a necessary response to community safety concerns, aiming to deter criminal behaviour among young people and provide a framework for more harsh consequences for those who reoffend.



The proposed changes have met with substantial criticism from various people and organisations including legal experts, and Indigenous leaders. Critics argue that such approaches are not only ineffective in reducing crime rates but also disregards the issues faced by vulnerable youths, particularly Indigenous children, who are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. Such changes would also take away from the Close the Gap initiative.

The reforms have been described as quick reactions that neglect the root causes of youth crime and will only see more children involved with the criminal justice system in the long run.

Criticism has grown to such an extent where hundreds of legal practitioners throughout NSW have petitioned against the law change, claiming that the imprisonment of youth would cause greater harm than good both on the youth and society.

The decision not to raise the age of criminal responsibility has also continuously sparked outrage, with many seeing it as a missed opportunity to align with international human rights standards.



The debate over the NSW government’s proposed law changes reflects broader concerns about the direction of juvenile justice in Australia. While the intention to protect community safety and reduce crime rates is understandable, the effectiveness of incarceration over rehabilitative and preventive approaches and methods remains highly contested. The potential impact on Indigenous communities and the prospect of deepening the long-term involvement of children in the Criminal system must be taken into careful consideration before the Bill is officially enacted.


National Criminal Lawyers® represents both youth and adult clients in the Court of Law. If you have been charged, it is critical that you seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that your matter can be best dealt with. Book a free consultation with one of our many skilled lawyers here at National Criminal Lawyers® by clicking here.


The NSW government’s proposed law changes to address youth crime have ignited a significant debate about the balance required between effective and ethical approaches when dealing with youth in the criminal justice system. While the reforms aim to tackle the immediate concerns of community safety and repeat offending, they also raise critical questions about the long-term consequences for young offenders and the broader implications for social justice and equity. As more individuals raise criticism when dealing with these complex issues, the need for a balanced, evidence-based, and inclusive approach to criminal justice reform has never been more apparent.

Get In Touch!

"*" indicates required fields