Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 17 Sept 2009) . . Page.. 4193 ..
That is the balance that is endeavoured to be struck in the legislation. Whether that is achieved in this particular instance is a matter that I am seeking some advice on. I am not at a point at this stage to say whether there is any inherent structural difficulty with the legislation or whether it is simply the view of the magistrate and the court in relation to this particular case, but I am seeking further advice on the matter. I believe it is important to reiterate that we must strike the balance between punishment and rehabilitation, particularly so for young people, and it is appropriate to put the emphasis on rehabilitation for young offenders.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, your supplementary question.
MR COE: Yes, my supplementary question is to the minister rather than to the attorney. What implications does this have for youth justice in the ACT?
MR CORBELL: These are matters around the application of the act as it operates in the children’s court in the Magistrates Court; so it is appropriate that I try to answer your question, Mr Coe.
What does it mean for the broader operations of youth justice in the territory? I do not believe at this point in time you can extrapolate any more significant impact on the operation of youth justice in the territory. I think we need to properly examine all the facts of the case and then reach a conclusion as to whether or not there are, indeed, broader legislative impacts. At this point in time I am not in a position to do that and I think we should be cautious about leaping to conclusions on this matter at this time.
MS BURCH: Supplementary question. Can the minister tell the Assembly about the role of restorative justice in the context of youth justice in the ACT?
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Burch for the question. Restorative justice does perform an important role in the overall context of the youth justice framework for the territory. We have a very good success rate in restorative justice for young people. We have a 60 per cent success rate in terms of avoiding recidivist behaviour through the restorative justice mechanisms that are deployed in my department and across government more broadly.
There is more work to be done, I must say, in relation to restorative justice as it relates to young Indigenous offenders. Young Indigenous offenders do not participate in the restorative justice framework to the same extent that non-Indigenous young offenders do and we need to work to improve the participation of young Indigenous offenders in the restorative justice framework.
That is a matter that my colleague Ms Porter has been particularly vocal on and has made many representations to me on. It is a matter that I have asked my department to do further work on. I am hopeful that we will be able to put in place some additional measures to encourage and facilitate the involvement of young Indigenous offenders in the restorative justice process as an alternative to the traditional criminal justice court-based decisions.