Page 1111 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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In good faith, we will all agree to this motion today and we are looking now with interest at the appointment to replace a very excellent community advocate—someone who will be quite difficult to follow, but who, nonetheless, will be followed—and at the appointment of a number of other commissioners where we will see this process in action. We, as Greens, will watch that with interest, as I am sure everyone else will. I commend this motion to you and look forward to achieving, for the first time, full agreement on a motion.

Motion agreed to.

Restorative justice

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.26): I move:

That the Assembly:

(1) notes that;

(a) the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Act 2004 commenced on 31 January 2005;

(b) the Act achieves the Government’s election commitment to expand restorative justice options in the ACT and that it also meets a key crime prevention and sentencing strategy of the ACT Criminal Justice Strategic Plan 2002-05;

(c) the scheme is considered by academics and practitioners to be innovative and progressive in its attempt to encompass the widest range of cases possible for restorative justice;

(d) the ACT scheme will be introduced in two phases, with young offenders being eligible in the first year and adult offenders in the second year; and

(e) ACT Policing will continue to conduct diversionary conferencing under the new administrative arrangements; and

(2) recognises the achievement of the Government in establishing a restorative justice scheme in the ACT that will enhance the rights of victims by ensuring they are given a high priority in the administration of justice.

I am pleased to move this motion. The Stanhope government is proud of its achievements in implementing a comprehensive and innovative restorative justice scheme for the ACT. This is yet another example of this government’s ability to deliver.

The government had promised the people of the ACT that it would look at ways to expand the availability of restorative justice options and it has done so. Restorative justice is also a key crime prevention and sentencing strategy in the ACT criminal justice strategic plan 2002-05. Members may recall the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Bill 2004 was passed in August last year. I am pleased to inform the Assembly that the Restorative Justice Unit has now been established and is operational and I understand that the AFP has already referred a number of matters to it.

In the early 1990s, the ACT was at the forefront of restorative justice in Australia when two well-known local academics, Heather Strang and John Braithwaite, both

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