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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . .

Page.. 389..


Circle Sentencing is not a soft option for indigenous offenders—it will be hard for offenders to confront their community elders, explain their actions and accept the sentence recommended by the court.

The process involves a traditional circle of stakeholders where the offender, their community and the relevant court personnel and judge speak in a way to understand the event, and to work cooperatively to advance solutions.

The circle sentencing model of sentencing was piloted in New South Wales in 2002. A review conducted by the Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre Australia found a high level of satisfaction among participants, and found that Aboriginal elders noted a reduction in recidivism and positive behavioural changes in offenders. Other jurisdictions have introduced circle sentencing for young people, including the Koori Court in Victoria.

Our government, through this bill, is demonstrating, as we have for adults, that it is important to have culturally appropriate sentencing options. We have also made sure that we have culturally appropriate options in other services, such as the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm in our health area. We certainly value these responses in our community. By establishing the Warrumbul court, we hope that a culturally appropriate justice system in the ACT will see improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the whole community.

This bill introduces important amendments to offences against children, and, by addressing the royal commission's recommendations, it will make the ACT a safer place for children and young people. I am also pleased that this bill will put in place alternative sentencing arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders that will improve justice for them and for young people in the territory. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2.30 pm.

Ministerial arrangements

MR BARR: In the absence of the minister for health, Minister Fitzharris, due to her being unwell, Minister Rattenbury will take questions in the health portfolio and I will assist members in Minister Fitzharris's other portfolios of transport and city services and higher education, training and research.

Questions without notice

Suburban Land Agency—purchases

MR COE: I have a question for the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, in September of 2016, you announced that the LDA would be abolished. This announcement was in light of the scathing assessment by the Auditor-General of governance arrangements


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