Page 3378 - Week 09 - Thursday, 24 August 2017
working with the Public Advocate to determine how to further support her ability to deal with increasing work demand and expanded functions resulting from recent government reforms.
I am keen in this budget discussion to talk about justice reinvestment. It is a very important premise that we seek to spend money up-front before people end up in the corrections system or to invest it in a way that for those who have been involved in the corrections system we minimise the chance of them going back. This budget will continue the high-density housing, safety and security project which facilitates programs to prevent and reduce crime and antisocial behaviour through community-building and high-density housing on Ainslie Avenue. It will continue for one more year with the injection of $160,000. The program has been shown to prevent and reduce opportunities for crime, promote community safety and security, develop prosocial and law-abiding community engagement and facilitate access to services related to justice, health, mental health, education and employment.
Mr Milligan spoke about the Yarrabi Bamirr cross-government trial supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to prevent contact with the justice system and improve life outcomes. This is a partnership with Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service. I am very enthused about this project. It has the potential to be very successful and make a significant contribution in the justice reinvestment space.
Let me turn to corrections. We had quite some discussion about it in question time today. I am happy to talk about it at length but, in the spirit of getting on with the debate this afternoon, I will limit my remarks, given that we have also debated it several times in private members’ business recently.
I am pleased that the appropriation bill provides important foundations in the government’s commitment to reducing recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025. I make no bones about the fact that this is an incredibly ambitious goal. At the recent corrections ministers’ meeting the New Zealanders discussed their experience of trying to achieve a similar goal, and I know that they found it very challenging. They had some good success but they also had some things they thought would work that did not. We will be watching their experience very closely.
There are a number of initiatives in the budget, including the expansion of employment opportunities for detainees through the establishment of a bakery at the AMC. That is in addition to the additional laundry employment opportunities that have already been provided under previous budgets. This will provide employment and educational opportunities for detainees, both male and female. I think this will go some way to addressing key concerns raised by the Auditor-General in 2015 and in other reports about the lack of a structured day with purposeful activities. I have been very pleased in my time as the minister to be able to secure the funds to build industry opportunities at the AMC and to now start rolling those out in a practical, ongoing way.
As Mr Milligan mentioned, the budget contains more than $5 million over four years to fund the expended through-care program. Until now, the funding has been year