Page 2436 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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Consultations report, prepared for the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services by Noetic Solutions Pty Ltd, dated April 2011.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

I am pleased today to be tabling the consultation report on the Towards a diversionary framework for the ACT discussion paper and the government’s interim response.

When I launched the discussion paper Towards a diversionary framework for the ACT on 14 February, my intention was to promote discussion about how we can better divert young people away from the justice system so that fewer young people are brought into the system, and particularly into detention. I am pleased to say that we have stimulated considerable discussion as evidenced by the report.

Diversion is generally understood as any process that prevents a young person from entering or continuing in youth justice. It is also described as removal from criminal justice processes and, frequently, redirection to community support services.

National data published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlights some of the challenges that the ACT youth justice system faces, including the number of young people involved in the system; the nature of their involvement, including frequent periods of short-term incarceration; and their extended duration in the system.

Alongside other jurisdictions, the ACT also has the challenge of unacceptably high rates of over-representation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people within our youth justice system.

In February this year the Community Services Directorate engaged Noetic Solutions, a local company, to undertake consultation on the discussion paper. The process sought feedback on strategies to divert young people away from the criminal justice system, particularly in relation to diversion from custody. Feedback was also sought to understand what programs and practices are working well and where services could be improved at all points in the youth justice system.

Consultation took place during March and April and involved a series of individual and group meetings as well as two larger forums. I also hosted a roundtable to hear directly from stakeholders about their experiences and to discuss their ideas. I am pleased that so many people took the time to participate in these discussions and I thank all those who contributed. Written submissions were invited, and I am pleased to advise that 15 written submissions were received in total. These submissions were well researched and the comments contained were substantial. I acknowledge the commitment that the authors provided to this input, and I thank them for doing so.

The feedback obtained from the broad range of stakeholders who participated in the various consultation mechanisms is reported in the consultation report which I am publicly releasing today. The consultation report and, where the author has consented,

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