Countless reports have highlighted that we are at risk of losing another generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the justice system – but the momentum for change is building. The Change the Record Coalition today welcomed a commitment by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten MP to close the justice gap, and emphasised the need for all levels of government to work together to address this crisis.
In a speech to University of Melbourne Law School, Mr Shorten vowed to tackle the justice gap by investing in solutions driven by local communities. Mr Shorten said that the first meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) under a Labor Government would work with state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, corrections, community services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and representative bodies to develop justice targets
Co-Chair Shane Duffy said, “We have long-argued that all governments working together through COAG to develop justice targets is critical to achieving change in this area, and so we welcome Labor’s commitment. Measurable targets aimed at reducing imprisonment rates, and the experience of violence, would provide an important accountability mechanism and drive co-ordinated action to address these issues.”
“Community-controlled organisations, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS), play a unique and critical role in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait families and communities in a culturally safe environment. Mr Shorten’s acknowledgment of this is important, as is his commitment to ensure these services are adequately funded into the future” said Mr Duffy.
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