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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1197..


and finalising its development of an offsets policy for the ACT. We have had to have regard for a range of factors, including the new one-stop shop arrangements in terms of assessment and approval of bilateral negotiations with the commonwealth under the EPBC legislation and the development of the offsets policy is being informed by those negotiations which are currently underway.

Crime—sentencing reform

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, in last week's hearing by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety into sentencing you mentioned that the government is embarking on a justice reform strategy to investigate possible sentencing, restorative justice and related reforms. Can you please tell the Assembly about this?

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the Attorney-General, could you just repeat the introduction to your question, Dr Bourke?

DR BOURKE: Of course. Attorney, in last week's hearing by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety into sentencing you mentioned that the government is embarking on a justice reform strategy to investigate possible sentencing, restorative justice and related reforms. Can you please tell the Assembly about this?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. Yes, I am pleased to confirm today, as I indicated to the standing committee last Friday, that the government is to pursue a new justice reform strategy focusing on enhancing the legal framework for sentencing and alternative sentencing options in the territory, including the possible expansion of restorative justice and intensive community correction orders.

This is an important reform program. The government has committed three-quarters of a million dollars over a two-year period for the necessary resourcing and academic research and investigation and advice that will be needed to engage with stakeholders and to develop options for the government's consideration. In particular, I am keen to see my directorate focus on best practice research from overseas which confirms the benefits of measures such as enhanced restorative justice approaches.

Already the ACT has a strong program of restorative justice for juvenile offenders and for less serious crimes. What we know from the international evidence is that restorative justice is at its most effective when it is focused on adult offenders and with crimes of violence. This may be somewhat counterintuitive, but it is nevertheless backed up by comprehensive international research and the recently released Campbell collaboration research, including from the Australian National University. I am keen to see this work fit into our future policy development.

The incarceration of an individual is sometimes the necessary punishment of them associated with the seriousness of their wrongdoing or to protect the broader public. But there are other instances where alternative sentencing options could potentially be more beneficial: more beneficial for the offender in terms of reducing opportunities for recommitting on their release otherwise from prison, more beneficial for the


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