«Our focus remains on reducing offending rates and preventing young people ever needing to be placed in detention,» she said.
Ms Farmer said the funding for the new centre and extension at the existing centre would go towards building, staffing, education facilities, the kitchen, laundry and fencing.
Brisbane Times has previously reported on children being held in police watchhouses for up to 11 days.
Ms Farmer said young people would not be moved out of watchhouses «next week or next month».
«But we are looking at gradually moving those young people into our youth detention centres and to stop them from coming into the system or back into the system in the first place,» she said.
The strategy also includes a transitional hub to divert young people from police custody in Mount Isa and an extension of funding for an additional specialist Children’s Court magistrate.
Ms Farmer said the community expected young people to be accountable for their actions and did not want them to reoffend.
«We cannot keep locking young people up and throwing away the key, we cannot expect to be doing the same thing we’ve been doing in youth justice year after year and expect the results to be different,» she said.
In February 2018, it was revealed attempts to shift 17-year-olds out of adult prisons in Queensland would be delayed as there was not enough room in youth facilities.
Former shadow attorney-general Ian Walker had questioned for months whether there was sufficient capacity in youth detention centres to accommodate the extra 17-year-olds.
Amnesty International Indigenous rights advocate Joel Clark said most of the children in detention were on remand, while watchhouses were no place for young people.
«Today’s announcement does not go far enough to address these issues,» he said.
«Moving kids from watchhouses to detention centres does nothing to address the underlying causal factors that see children trapped in the justice system.»
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said the opposition had been calling on the government to do something about youth justice.
«How many kids is this really going to help?» she said.
«We need to make sure that they are off the street, but come on, it’s a bit of a joke of an announcement.
«While we need to make sure everything is being done to make sure we’ve got enough beds, I don’t believe this announcement goes anywhere near far enough.»
Felicity Caldwell is state political reporter at the Brisbane Times