Page 128 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 February 2016

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Ms Porter has been a great champion of restorative justice and restorative practice for many years, and I thank her for bringing this motion to the Assembly today in what will be one of her last sitting days in this place. It is a great opportunity to reflect on the progress that is being undertaken to develop restorative practice more broadly in our community and the work of the Restorative Communities Network for Canberra to be potentially a restorative city.

As those in other cities who have adopted this mantle know, it is a big and bold ambition with challenges ahead but they have shown, and I think many in Canberra share this belief, that it is the best and most effective way of working together with children, families, schools and communities for a more just future. I am very pleased to lend the government’s support to Ms Porter’s motion today.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.38): I thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion before us today and discussing the issue of restorative justice, as well as more broadly the ACT’s desire for a safer community.

Restorative justice has a long history in Australia across all jurisdictions. The ACT experience commenced back in 1994 and arose from a New South Wales Police model that originated in Wagga Wagga. Those of us in this place who have engaged in debates in the Assembly and in an extensive discussion in the JACS committee will have a good understanding of the application of restorative justice and how it has enhanced the youth justice system in the ACT.

Diverting people away from crime should always be a desire for all of us, and particularly when it comes to our youth. The system has been well articulated previously in this place, and I thank both the minister and Ms Porter for their comments today.

I note that this is the subject of a debate tomorrow. I do not want to be in breach of standing order 59 and anticipate that discussion. Obviously there are steps being taken to move the ACT from having restorative justice in the youth domain towards having it involve adults, which has always been proposed as the next step. There are complex issues with restorative justice as we move forward, and they will be addressed in detail tomorrow when the opposition debates the bill.

I want to make sure that we understand that restorative justice is one piece of the puzzle and that a focus on restorative justice does not suggest that community safety is being addressed well by this government, because across the board we see gaps and failure in community safety in Canberra. Just last week the latest rates of crime statistics were released. In a range of those statistics across the board in Canberra there has been a deterioration in results. There has been an increase in crime across Canberra, in black and white.

We know that this government in 2013 cut funding to police by $15 million. In the middle of population growth, and in a situation where we see crime trends worsening, with police on the streets confronted by violence in Civic, by the ice epidemic and by issues like domestic violence, this government thought it would be a good idea to cut

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