Page 4439 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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blueprint—many Canberrans also had a say about how we can make our youth justice system better. Importantly, the blueprint promotes the involvement of the whole of government and the whole of community in supporting responses to children and young people to keep them out of the system.

Improving the response to young people who offend through earlier intervention will help stem the number of young offenders entering the justice system. Action to promote diversion and early intervention are the focus of the first three-year action plan. There are about 45 actions for government and community organisation to undertake within those three years.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, can you inform the Assembly how the implementation of the three-year action plan is progressing?

MS BURCH: The focus of the work in 2012-13 was determining the priority actions and consolidating changes to policy and practices that are already underway. It must be acknowledged that funding will be an important element in achieving the objectives of the blueprint.

In response, the government has committed $5.5 million over four years towards implementing the initiative across the priority areas. While this is a substantial initial investment in a constrained financial environment, the focus must be on justice reinvestment. This means redirecting funding towards the early intervention and prevention programs rather than detention.

Early signs point to reducing the number of young people coming into contact with or becoming further involved in the youth justice system. The number of offences committed by young people has decreased by 17 per cent. The number of young people under supervision has decreased by nine per cent. And the number of days young people spent in detention has reduced by 22 per cent and by 47 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

The blueprint implementation group has identified the following areas of focus in the coming year or so: to provide targeted responses to young people who remain in the youth justice system, in particular high-risk and repeat offenders; to develop strong links between care and protection and youth justice services to support early intervention for children who have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect; and to continue the workforce initiatives, including building cultural awareness, engagement and capacity building with the youth justice workforce to reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the youth justice system.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, can you provide some examples of how the vision set out in the blueprint is being met?

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