The Victorian Coalition Government has re-affirmed its commitment to address Koori disadvantage in the justice system with the signing today of the third Aboriginal Justice Agreement.
The agreement embodies a commitment on behalf of various government agencies to achieve improved justice outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians. The agreement continues the process begun by the Kennett Government in 1997 to reduce indigenous over-representation in the justice system.
The new agreement sets out a five-year roadmap to reduce the levels of incarceration, offences and victims in the Koori community. It sets out 82 separate points of action to close the gap in the justice system for the Koori community.
The agreement includes six key strategic objectives including:
crime prevention and early intervention;
strengthening diversion programs and other alternatives to imprisonment;
reducing the rate of re-offending;
reducing conflict, violence and victimisation;
responsive and inclusive services; and
strengthening community justice responses and increasing community safety.
The collaborative nature of this agreement is vital to ensuring a unified vision from the Government and Koori community to deliver in specific ways for Aboriginal people.
Independent analysis on the second Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA) conducted by the Nous Group found the agreement had resulted in 70 fewer Aboriginal people in prison, 200 fewer Aboriginal offenders and 1,300 fewer Aboriginal offences than otherwise expected in 2011.
The third AJA was signed on behalf of the Coalition Government by the Attorney-General, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Minister for Crime Prevention and Corrections, the Minister for Community Services and Mental Health and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
It was also signed by the Chairperson of the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee, the Chairpersons of the nine Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees, the CEOs of the Aboriginal legal services, and CEOs of peak Aboriginal community organisations.
The agreement can be viewed at www.justice.vic.gov.au