Mount Isa's state MP, Robbie Katter, describes the government's current approach as "madness".
"Any practical person you would talk to that lives in the Gulf knows that will not work," he says.
"Sentencing and locking them up in the traditional forms of incarceration, like the youth detention centre certainly is a waste of time. Throw that solution in the bin. It's doing nothing."
Mr Katter is proposing a new kind of prison model that sees young offenders sent to remote, bush locations, where they can be rehabilitated and learn new skills to get them into work.