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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 March 2015) . . Page.. 996 ..

courts and the Alexander Maconochie Centre, where the committee held site visits, and the ACT Law Society for a private briefing on the conduct of criminal cases and sentencing. All of these were very helpful to the committee in our deliberations.

Also on behalf of our committee, I sincerely thank Dr Brian Lloyd, the secretary of the justice and community safety committee, for his tireless efforts and significant contribution to this inquiry. Finally, I thank fellow members of the committee, who over the past 2½ years have included Mr Gentleman and Ms Berry, prior to their promotions to ministerial positions. My sincere thanks to the current membership: Dr Bourke, Mrs Jones and Ms Porter. I have been pleased with our process together, the way we have debated areas of concern and the general conduct of this inquiry. I commend the report to the Assembly.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (10.43): I also thank the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety: the chair, Mr Doszpot; Mrs Jones and Ms Porter; former members Mr Gentleman and Ms Berry; and all who contributed to the inquiry over its course. I also thank the secretary, Dr Brian Lloyd, who drew this substantial report together.

As we are aware, Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is unfortunately over-represented in our justice system. As a result, the community or the subset of members involved in the justice system may also benefit from the report, from the recommendations to improve the sentencing system generally and from the recommendations specifically concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Some of the latter include: recommendation 18, that courts be explicitly required to consider the Indigenous status of offenders at sentencing; recommendation 20, calling for the creation of reports to the court on any relationship between the accused’s offending and his or her Indigenous status; recommendation 21, that Indigenous case workers have significant input to these reports; and recommendation 22, that the government engage with Canberra’s Indigenous community to explore alternative sentencing options and appropriate punishment and rehabilitation choices that may also lower imprisonment rates.

The report is especially supportive of restorative justice, justice reinvestment and the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court. It includes: recommendation 19, to formally recognise the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court under statute; recommendation 52, that the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court’s role and purposed be defined under statute and it be funded appropriately; recommendation 53, that the Justice and Community Safety Directorate report on key indicators for the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court in the directorate’s annual report; recommendation 54, that the government further develop and fund appropriately the suite of programs to which the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court can refer offenders; and finally, recommendation 55, that the Ngunnawal bush healing farm be completed by December 2017. The report speaks of the benefits to the community of having culturally appropriate prevention and education programs as part of the farm’s alcohol and other drugs residential rehabilitation program.

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