Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 August 2017) . . Page.. 2244 ..
Community facility-zoned land—Public housing—Ministerial statement, 1 August 2017.
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Youth justice update
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (12.02): On 9 May I updated the Assembly on the blueprint for youth justice in the ACT. Members will be aware that the blueprint is a 10-year strategy that provides a framework for significant youth justice reforms. It responds to the 2011 Human Rights Commission report into the ACT youth justice system and was developed by a task force with broad representation from the government and community sector. In May I indicated that as we near the halfway mark it is important to take stock, celebrate our achievements and focus on the next five years. I announced that I will establish a new task force of key youth justice stakeholders to establish the direction we need to take.
I am pleased to say that the ACT Children and Young People Commissioner, Ms Jodie Griffiths-Cook, has agreed to co-chair the new task force alongside the Executive Director of Children, Youth and Families within the Community Services Directorate, Dr Mark Collis. Ms Griffiths-Cook’s position as co-chair of the task force continues the legacy of the previous task force; that is, to build a human rights focused youth justice system. I am proud that the ACT was the first state or territory in Australia to establish and pursue this goal. The task force will hold its first meeting in the next week or two. Its terms of reference will focus on continuing to improve and sustain outcomes for young people engaged with the youth justice system.
We want young people in this community to be safe, strong and connected. The task force has a strong base to build from. In May I outlined a significant fall in young people coming into contact with the youth justice system, including a 63 per cent reduction between 2011-12 and 2015-16 in the number of nights young people spent in custody. We should celebrate this success but we should not rest on our laurels. Over the last few months we have seen an increase in the number of young people in detention. That is something the task force will look at. In addition, the official visitors for children and young people have recommended that we consider how to better support young people’s transition back to the community, particularly those who have spent significant periods on remand. I have asked that this be a specific area of focus for the task force.
A second area of focus is the continued over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. In this context it is important to note that the ACT has