National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders call on government to close the gap in justice and community safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12 February 2018


The Prime Minister must use the Closing the Gap ‘refresh’ to commit to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people in justice and safety outcomes, the respected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led Change the Record Coalition has stated.

“Imprisonment and violence are at a crisis point, devastating our families and whole communities. The lack of action to close the gap in justice outcomes for our people has seen disproportionately high rates of over-imprisonment and violence increase over the last ten years,” said Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of Change the Record.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and community controlled organisations have put forward the solution – we need governments to address justice and family violence through setting targets to reduce imprisonment and violence in the Closing the Gap Strategy,” said Antoinette Braybrook, Co-Chair of Change the Record. “There’s a clear way forward for government, they only need to listen to our voices and work with us,” she said.

“Reports that the Federal Government is looking at targets related to youth justice are welcome. Any targets need to be developed in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and community controlled organisations,” said Ms Axleby.

“Setting justice targets makes sense. It gives government an incentive to do better, and implement what works. We have the solutions. Governments need to step up and support us to implement them for our communities,” said Ms Braybrook.

Change the Record, a national, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led Coalition, is calling for:

  • Federal, State and Territory governments to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and representative bodies, to forge agreement through COAG to set the following justice targets as part of Closing the Gap:

1.Close the gap in the rates of imprisonment between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people by 2040, with an interim target of halving the gap by 2030; and

2.Cut the disproportionate rates of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to close the gap by 2040, including the adoption of a specific family violence target.

  • Sub-targets that focus on the importance of resourcing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations to deliver front line services that would assist in meeting these identified targets.