Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4556 ..
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank the member for his question and his interest in our community—
Mr Parton: And roads.
MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, Madam Speaker. I thank the member for his interest in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community as well. They are sometimes disproportionately represented in our criminal statistics and this can occur for a number of reasons. When incidents occur, too often some in our community believe that the solution is to lock people up and throw away the keys. This is often detrimental to the individual, their family and our broader community.
It is important that we understand the diversity in Canberra and engage with all the communities that make up our fantastic city. We must work with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and a good police force will develop relationships with this part of our Canberra community.
As police minister I have been pleased to see the efforts that our force has made regarding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. ACT Policing has a strong commitment to working with stakeholders and government agencies to protect vulnerable members of the community, including through diversion programs. This commitment was recently affirmed by the incoming Chief Police Officer, Ray Johnson.
In his first media appearance after being appointed, Assistant Commissioner Johnson publicly said he wanted to continue to focus on vulnerable communities, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander community, who are over-represented as both victims and offenders in the justice system. My colleagues and I look forward to working with the new CPO in this important endeavour.
MR PETTERSSON: Can the minister provide an update on how ACT police have been engaging with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community?
MR GENTLEMAN: One way ACT Policing engages is through the Chief Police Officer’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board. As part of her role on this board, Ngunnawal elder, Aunty Violet Sheridan, noticed that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were missing from ACT Policing’s HQ, the Winchester station in Belconnen. This was promptly rectified and both flags now fly proudly outside Winchester.
Another sign of ACT Policing’s commitment to building a stronger relationship with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community was the launch of the two new patrol boats on Lake Burley Griffin, which I was proud to be part of. The names of the two boats comes from the Ngunnawal language and were chosen in consultation with elders. They are named Ngunnawal and Yhuuramulun. Yhuuramulun means “dreaming” and symbolises the vessel’s connection to the local river system or the dreaming path.