Page 1184 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Importantly, efforts to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the youth justice system are being supported by the Aboriginal and Torres Islander agreement 2015-18. The agreement’s focus on strong families, cultural identity and connections is relevant for future work under the blueprint. The early achievements of the blueprint suggest that benefits are being made to the justice sector, young people and the community that are likely to continue for years to come.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hinder.
MR HINDER: Minister, what improvements are being seen specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people under the blueprint for youth justice?
DR BOURKE: The overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the justice system is a serious problem facing all jurisdictions in Australia. On an average day here in the ACT, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people make up more than a quarter of young people on justice supervision despite comprising only three per cent of the youth population.
Today I am pleased to report that the work of the youth justice blueprint is having positive effects for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Since the blueprint commenced, we have seen a 47 per cent reduction—47 per cent—in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention and a 35 per cent reduction—35 per cent—in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people under community justice supervision.
Critical to this success has been the implementation of actions that strengthen government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships and recognise this community’s expert knowledge and contribution to the lives of young people. For example, our restorative justice Indigenous guidance partner works together with young people participating in the restorative justice processes. The family engagement officer at Bimberi is helping families to stay connected and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in custody. And cultural planning for young people on justice orders has been strengthened by promoting opportunities to retain connection to family, community and culture.
Whilst there is still work to be done, the blueprint will ensure that our efforts to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander overrepresentation in the ACT youth justice system will continue.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Wall.
MR WALL: Minister, does the government have a view about the long-term use of the Bimberi detention centre given the declining number of youth being given custodial sentences?