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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 10 March 2016) . . Page.. 972 ..

of restorative justice to offenders including adults for all offences except domestic violence and sexual offences. Restorative justice has proved to be highly successful over the past decade in satisfying the justice needs of victims of crime, helping young offenders to accept responsibility for their offending and finding ways of repairing the harm they have caused.

Other key recommendations that the government agrees with address the needs of vulnerable people in the criminal justice system, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, young people and people with disability, and people with alcohol and other drug issues and mental health issues. The committee also made more systemic and procedural recommendations, including to support reform of listing practices in the Magistrates Court.

The report further recommended an evaluation of prisoner rehabilitation programs and the government agrees in principle with this, with evaluation already part of government practice, including drawing on the experience and knowledge gained by other jurisdictions.

The Inquiry into sentencing represents a snapshot of the sentencing landscape in 2015. The issues and challenges raised in the lengthy report illustrate the need for government to maintain its commitment to providing access to justice and consistently and incrementally improving the operation of our criminal justice system. In 2014, to this end, the government announced the justice reform strategy, a two-year project which is working to identify how sentencing legislation and practice can reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for victims, offenders and the wider community. The strategy is also guiding the development of proposals for government reforms to sentencing and related laws.

I acknowledge the contributions to the committee’s inquiry by key people and organisations in our criminal justice system, including the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Bar Association, the Law Society, the Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner, and the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Association, as well as Dr Lorana Bartels from the University of Canberra.

The government’s response to these recommendations demonstrates our commitment to innovation, community safety and access to justice. I commend the government response to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Mr Corbell presented the following paper:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 19—Review of Auditor-General’s Report No 4 of 2014: Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit, Canberra Hospital—Update report on the progress of implementing the Auditor-General’s recommendations—Statement.

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