A long-called for on-country youth diversion program will be funded by the WA Government in the 2022/23 budget to address rampant youth crime in the Kimberley.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan on Tuesday revealed the State was considering several options for a $15m on-country residential facility, including an Aboriginal led program on a Kimberley cattle station.

It is being funded with an aim to reduce the high rate of youth crime and re-offending in the Kimberley which has seen tourists attacked, police cars rammed and residents left helpless to protect their property.

Speaking in Broome on Tuesday, Ms MacTiernan said the program would offer a genuine alternative to detention to get at-risk youth into work and education.

“We acknowledge the reasons for the problems in our north are complex and cannot be solved overnight, but we are focused on doing what we can to break the cycle of youth offending in our regions,” she said.

“As an Aboriginal-led program, it will work to foster stronger connections to culture and support young people to re-establish purpose and accountability.”

The facility was part of a $40.4m announcement on a range of measures to address youth crime in the Kimberley.

Also included was $4.3m to expand the Target 120 program, $11.7m to boost school engagement, and $2.5m to extend a police operation in the region.

Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said Target 120 had proven successful in trials to date.

“Around half of the young people involved in Target 120 to date have had no further contact with police,” she said.

“By working with at-risk children and focusing on the causes of offending, including working with their family, Target 120 is helping steer these young people away from the criminal justice system and in turn helping to create safer communities.”

Target 120 supports those aged 10 to 14 at risk of becoming repeat offenders, helping to steer them away from the criminal justice system.

Night patrols, intensive support for vulnerable families, and grants for youth engagement and safety will also be funded.