Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3278 ..
Let us talk about the Spanish Club. They pay no gaming tax at all. They give all their gaming revenue away. Now they will need to find $3,300 to go into the diversification fund. I shake my head. In the election campaign in 2016 there were banners up in most clubs that said, “Don’t let ACT Labor destroy your club.” There is no question that this policy will bring about the closure of some clubs. Clubs will close, jobs will be lost, and it will be on this minister.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (11.37): In the 2018-19 budget the government has provided additional funding of $1 million focused on achieving a reduction in recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025. This funding will provide the government with the ability to continue implementing targeted, evidence-based interventions that change people’s contact with the justice system.
Having a target like this might be considered a risky thing to do. Reducing recidivism is recognised as a difficult thing to do, and if we set a target and do not achieve it there will no doubt be a political consequence. But I think it is important that we set a target and set out to achieve it because it will deliver more safety in our community and improve the lives of those people currently involved in the criminal justice system. This is an incredibly worthwhile target to be pursuing, and the investments in this year’s budget are designed to move us towards the achievement of that goal.
The funding will support initiatives which prevent crime and address offending behaviour, including $84,000 for an Aboriginal victim liaison officer for the victims of crime office; $285,000 to expand the high density housing community and safety program; $152,000 to establish the Warrumbul court in the Children’s Court to provide a culturally appropriate sentencing process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in the justice system; and $434,000 for the continued development of and operationalising initiatives within the justice reinvestment program.
Responses to combat crime are often viewed in binary terms—tough or soft on crime. But in reality the tough on crime mantra and its impact on the people in our prison system is a major concern. We have to ask the question: does a tough-on-crime approach really make us safer? The answer to that question depends on whether we are building prisons or seeking to build communities.
In 2014 the government made a commitment to develop a justice reinvestment strategy. Our approach, which the Australian Institute of Criminology has endorsed, involves adopting a multifaceted strategy incorporating multiple interventions that together achieve greater cumulative results in the both the community and the justice system. The funding provided in this budget demonstrates the diverse ways in which we need to work across the justice system to strengthen it and the positive impact we want it to have on the people involved in it.
Let me turn in a little more detail to a few of the initiatives I have just mentioned, starting with the $84,000 for an Aboriginal and victim liaison officer for the victims of crimes office. The role of this officer is to provide culturally sensitive and