Signing the Aboriginal Justice Agreement in Alice Springs

There was a strong community turn out at the launch of the NT Aboriginal Justice Agreement in Alice Springs last month with members of community organisations, not-for-profit groups, the judiciary, and correctional services, all attending to hear the message of change for the Northern Territory justice system.

In her speech, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Selena Uibo emphasied the impact of racism in the Northern Territory and how the Agreement will deal with this problem.

‘Today we acknowledge that racism still exists in the Territory — which erodes unity, our sense of belonging, and can tear communities apart’, Minister Uibo said.

‘We will also be identifying and tackling systemic racism in government agencies and contracted service providers who are part of our justice approach.

‘Really, when simplified, it all comes down to more appropriate services, stronger leadership, and better systems’.

The Agreement’s 13 strategies will benefit whole communities in Central Australia through improving justice services, leadership and systems.

The three key aims are to:

  • Reduce reoffending and imprisonment rates of Aboriginal Territorians to reduce crime.
  • Engage and support Aboriginal leadership.
  • Improve justice responses and services for Aboriginal Territorians.

Actions from the Agreement are strongly focused on community-level initiatives including supporting and establishing local law and justice groups, re-introducing community courts, continuing alternatives to custody and redesigning and expanding access to programs that address the root causes of offending.

Minister Uibo said the Life Skills Camp alternative to custody in Alice Springs was one of the AJA projects that was already helping women to not reoffend.

‘The Life Skills Camp is helping Aboriginal women right now. They are learning more about themselves, their minds, their bodies. They are learning skills to help them when they are back in their communities.

‘They are learning what it means to be accountable for their own behaviour and their children’s behaviour.

‘They are finding purpose and hope. They are becoming strong roles models for their children.’

The NT Government has committed $4.52 million for the first year of the Agreement’s operations.

Member for Namatjira Bill Yan and Superintendent Bill Carroll, General Manager of the Alice Springs Correctional Centre. Member for Namatjira Bill Yan and Superintendent Bill Carroll, General Manager of the Alice Springs Correctional Centre.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda with NT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sally Sievers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda with NT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sally Sievers.
Director of the Aboriginal Justice Unit Leanne Liddle with Brenda Stubbs and Margie Lynch. Director of the Aboriginal Justice Unit Leanne Liddle with Brenda Stubbs and Margie Lynch.
Doreen McCormack from the Central Australian Strong Grandmothers Group with AGD Chief Executive Officer Gemma Lake. Doreen McCormack from the Central Australian Strong Grandmothers Group with AGD Chief Executive Officer Gemma Lake.
NT Local Court Judge Meredith Day Huntingford with Russell Goldflam from the NT Legal Aid Commission and Anna Gill from the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. NT Local Court Judge Meredith Day Huntingford with Russell Goldflam from the NT Legal Aid Commission and Anna Gill from the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.
Master of Ceremonies Charlie King with NT Correctional Services Acting Commissioner David Thompson. Master of Ceremonies Charlie King with NT Correctional Services Acting Commissioner David Thompson.

Last updated: 03 November 2021

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