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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2016) . . Page.. 135 ..

Restorative practices can work to reconnect or restore relationships. Restorative practices provide an evidence-based positive behaviour management approach which is structured so that it may be consistently applied by staff to repair harm when relationships are damaged by the specific actions of one or more people.

Restorative practices can be incorporated into a school’s engagement, skill development and safe school curriculum to ensure that students are taught explicitly how to repair harm when relationships are damaged.

And restorative practices provide an opportunity for schools to build positive partnerships with families and community through working collaboratively with parents and carers when repair to harm is required. Restorative practices also allow schools to demonstrate to the community that they have a proven and consistent approach regarding student safety and wellbeing.

There is much more to be said and done before the ACT can truly have a declaration of Canberra as a restorative city, but we are working towards it. The examples I have been able to provide around the education space indicate the potential broader application here, and the opportunities for making long-term and lasting impacts on people who have been involved in harm where restoration can take away some of the particularly negative elements of what has happened.

Certainly for me and the ACT Greens we have a strong personal and professional interest in supporting the development of Canberra as a restorative city, and we look forward to the ongoing work of the Restorative Communities Network in achieving this. I am advised that the first workshop of 2016 regarding restorative practices in schools will be held on Thursday, 18 February across the plaza, at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre. Members may recognise that date; it is a sitting day, so unfortunately I will not be able to attend myself. I hope that future workshops do not occur on sitting days, but I encourage policymakers, academics and members of the community to keep an eye out for these great opportunities, to better understand and engage with the many benefits that restorative practices can bring.

In conclusion, I would like to again thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion forward and giving an opportunity to reflect on what has succeeded so far in the restorative justice space, what still needs to be done, and where some of the opportunities lie. There is certainly scope, and I support her call, for the ACT government to work towards the declaration of Canberra as a restorative city. It presents many opportunities to benefit members of our community, an opportunity to make our city safer, and an opportunity where people feel that justice has been served.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (12.06), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to the debate on this important matter. You can see from what Mr Corbell has said that restorative justice is not just a nice idea but a serious, well-founded, well-researched and well-proven approach to many aspects of our lives.

I am pleased to hear that restorative communities’ first focus is in schools. I have been advocating for this for a long time.

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