Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 2017) . . Page.. 3371 ..
executive business order of the day No 5 and Assembly business orders of the day relating to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2017-2018 and the government response.
Justice and Community Safety Directorate—Part 1.15.
MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (3.46): We now come to what will be my last appearance in these debates for this year.
MR MILLIGAN: I know; it’s a bit of a shame, isn’t it? That is what comes with the portfolios, isn’t it? I will send you all a link. After reading the budget leaflet relating to Indigenous families you would almost think that this was an area of major concern for the government. It refers to a drug and alcohol court, extended through care and investment in the community legal centres. As with all matters in this budget, closer inspection shows that the promises do not deliver on the expectations.
Let us begin with the establishment of the drug and alcohol court, which it is claimed will improve justice outcomes for Indigenous communities. However, in response to a question on notice, Mr Ramsay revealed that the money allocated is for a scoping study to develop a model for a drug and alcohol court, not for an actual court. Minister, is this like the model of care for the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm, which we are still waiting on nine years later?
This court, when it is fully established, will be available to all offenders, not just the Indigenous community. We are told that specific support available for Indigenous offenders will depend on the model of care that is ultimately chosen. In other words, this is all smoke and mirrors and, yet again, no substance, no action.
Let us now look at the Yarrabi Bamirr trial. This trial is about delivering a culturally-aware and family-centred justice reinvestment program. The money is mentioned on the leaflet and the explanation of the budget papers would lead one to believe that almost $400,000 will be allocated to this initiative. This is, of course, not the case. In fact, just over half that is allocated to this initiative.
Let us now move on to the issue of through care. A further $5.3 million was to be delivered to improve outcomes when offenders transition back to the community to help reduce the rates of recidivism. The ACT has some of the highest rates of recidivism among Indigenous communities in Australia. Further investigation throughout the estimates hearing revealed that only Indigenous women who engage with the program benefited from it. In fact, only sentenced males had access. Remanded males did not. The only specific Indigenous money to be spent from the $5.3 million is the employment of a level 5 Indigenous through-care officer.
Whilst we acknowledge that the Indigenous community has access to a range of non-Indigenous programs also offered as part of through care, we also know that the best outcomes for change are when Indigenous organisations work with Indigenous inmates. We would agree with the estimates committee’s recommendations that the