AJA News - Autumn 2008

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                        tur ning the spotlight onto community justice issues


Engagement key
to human rights                             "The Aboriginal Justice Agreement is a
THE Aboriginal Justice Agreement is a
rare and shining attempt at ongoing         very rare example of that deliberately
community engagement by public              happening in WA as a standing process
servants, which is critical to creating a   and not as a one-off consultation."
humane and just society, said the           "Amazing chemistry happens when
Director of Reconciliation Australia,       public servants, people from private
the Hon Fred Chaney AO.                     enterprise and community members            Fred Chaney
Mr Chaney made his remarks after            sit across the table from each other," he
addressing the Institute of Public          said in his address.
Administration Australia on behalf of       "The public servants become outcome
the Consultative Committee For A            focused, the private enterprise people
Proposed WA Human Rights Act, which         become community spirited and the
he chaired.                                 community members become
His address to the IPAA function at the     empowered. It is happening on the
Perth Concert Hall was titled "The          AJA," Mr Chaney said.
People Are Coming".                         "All progress, all change, is local so
"People are citizens, not clients, and      there is no substitute for engagement.
the public service needs to be as           Centralised decision making doesn't
supportive of its citizens and their        work. If you want society to be
rights as of its rules and regulations,"    different, you have to get involved
he said.                                    locally.
                                                            Continued page 2            Donna Kickett

New forums, plans on way
The AJA has so far developed 16 local justice plans and two       Yamatji
                                                                  l          (Midwest): a local justice plan has been completed
regional plans across the State, with a further 12 plans            for Geraldton; plans for Meekatharra and Mullewa are due
expected to be completed by the end of June 2008.                   to be completed by June 2008 and plans are proposed for
                                                                    Carnarvon and Burringurrah.
In addition, work has commenced to establish at least four
more regional justice forums.                                     Mulga
                                                                  l         Mallee (Goldfields): local justice plans have been
                                                                    completed for Kalgoorlie and Wiluna and both are due for
The regional forums review and report on justice-related
                                                                    review. A regional justice plan has been developed for the
trends and issues in the regions and connect and work with
                                                                    region and is due for review. Local justice plans are being
Regional Managers' meetings.
                                                                    developed for Esperance, Laverton and Leonora and are due
Local and regional justice plans currently completed or under       to be completed by June 2008.
development around WA include:
                                                                  l                  a regional justice plan has been developed
l       Kimberley: local justice plans completed for                and is due for review. Local justice plans are proposed for
  Kalumburu, Warmun, Wyndham and Oombulgurri; in                    Warburton, Warakurna, Blackstone and Wingelina.
  development for Halls Creek, Kununurra, Mulan and Balgo,
                                                                  l              a regional justice plan is in development, as is a
  and proposed for Billiluna and Ringers Soak.
                                                                    local justice plan for Northam.
l      Kimberley: local justice plans for Derby and Broome
                                                                  l       Metro: local justice plans have been completed for
  are completed and sign-off is imminent; plans are in
                                                                    Gosnells, Midland, Mirrabooka and Innaloo.
  development for Fitzroy Crossing, One Arm Point,
  Djarindjin and Lombadina and proposed for Beagle Bay and        South-West: development of a regional justice plan and local
  Bidyadanga.                                                       justice plans for both Bunbury and Busselton are underway
                                                                    and due for completion in June 2008.
Pilbara: local justice plans for Newman, Roebourne, Onslow,
  Port Hedland and Jigalong are completed, and Tom Price is       Great
                                                                  l        Southern: a local justice plan is due to be completed
  due for sign-off by June 2008.                                    for Albany in June 2008.

                                                                                               Department of the Attorney General
                                                                                               Government of Western Australia
Success                                      Safe and Sustainable
is to be                                     Communities, as measured by:
                                             Reduction in crime

measured                                     Increased
                                                       feelings of safety
                                                     police presence
                                             Improved criminal justice services and
                                             community awareness of these
THE Aboriginal Justice Agreement             Reduced hospital admissions for assault
                                             l                                               Reduction in
Team has developed a way of                  Higher rates of school retention
                                                                                             victims of crime,
measuring its level of achievement           Reduced problem drinking/drug use
                                                                                             as measured by:
of its three planned long-term               Increased capacity of communities
                                             to engage in criminal justice             Incidents
                                                                                       l          of family violence and
                                             decision-making                           child abuse decrease
The measures it has chosen will also         Reduced re-offending
                                                                                       Reduction in suicide and self
show how well its strategy of                                                          harm episodes
working co-operatively with other                                                      Fewer
                                                                                       l contacts with the

agencies like WA Police and the                                                        criminal justice system
Department of Indigenous Affairs is                                                    Positive changes in nominated
                                               Reduction in Aboriginal                 baseline data indicators
succeeding.                                    over representation in                  Increase in availability of early
The main long-term outcomes of the             criminal justice system,                intervention and prevention
AJA, and the steps to measure their            as measured by:                         mechanisms
achievement, are detailed in the              Number
                                              l         of convictions against
diagram opposite.                             Aboriginal people decrease
                                              Reduction in children in contact
                                              with Criminal Justice System
                                              Number of arrests of Aboriginal

Engagement                                    people decrease
                                              Imprisonment rate of Aboriginal
                                              people decreases
key to
human rights
                      from page 1       "For instance, we were able to advise
"I commend the WA Government's
Aboriginal Justice Agreement
                                        police that there was a chance of
                                        inter-family conflict spilling into a
                                                                                  Widening net
because it is an attempt to bring
together the elements that can cure
                                        weekend Aboriginal basketball
                                        carnival to be attended by about 200
                                                                                  for funding
the underlying situation.”              people.                                   ONE of the constant tasks of the AJA
An Aboriginal community member of       "The police obliged with discrete but     Team will be to help forums in their
                                        sufficiently visible patrolling and       quest for funds to act on their
the AJA's Midland Local Justice
Forum, Donna Kickett, who is also       attended as supporters and it went
                                        without a hitch.                          Where priorities are not already the
one of two representatives of
                                                                                  responsibility of particular
metropolitan Aboriginal people on       "Their partnering was invaluable if       communities or agencies, funds will
the AJA's State Aboriginal Justice      not measurable, and it all came           have to be sourced elsewhere.
Congress, agreed with Mr Chaney's       about because we had all established
                                                                                  Forum members may already have
comments.                               our commitment to each other across       good relationships with potential
"This is the first time we Aboriginal   the AJA meeting table."                   private sponsors and grants bodies,
people have been able to sit across     "We were also able to advise another      which may be approached in the first
the table from police and other         participant from the City of Swan         instance.
agencies and discuss local issues,"     that a key elder had been                 However, at some point, new sources of
she said.                               inadvertently left out of one of their    sponsorships and grants will have to
                                        consultation processes, after which       be found.
"There are as many benefits in the
informal resolution of local issues     he was included and became a very         An excellent starting point is the
                                        effective contributor."                   Grants Directory, a publication by the
that are networked across the AJA
                                                                                  Department of Local Government and
meeting table as in pursuing the        "It's the dialogue with these key local   Regional Development, which can be
priorities we set together in our       public servants that's important,"        downloaded from
formal local justice plan," she said.   Ms Kickett said.                
(L-R) AJA Regional Coordinator Michelle Winmar with the City of Stirling's Youth Development Officer Diana Juskov and Reel Connections
Project Officer Sarah Mills and the community violence workshop underway in Mirrabooka.

Youth reject local violence
ABOUT 90 Aboriginal youth from the           and the Department of Education and          more leadership, role modeling,
Balga, Mirrabooka and Girrawheen             Training, the Department of Child            community spirit and mediation from
high schools and another 30                  Protection, Noongar Sports                   the Aboriginal community and its
Aboriginal adults met recently to            Association and the David Wirrpanda          leaders," Mr Cole said.
speak out against local community            Foundation.                                  "They want the Aboriginal
violence and suggest strategies to           AJA Team Leader Gordon Cole said             community to reject offenders and
overcome it.                                 many responses were of a personal            support victims."
They attended the inaugural "Yoowart         nature from youth who had clearly            Girrawheen Aboriginal Elder Oriel
Moort Baaminy - No More Families             experienced community violence and           Green said having young people
Fighting" workshop established               understood the issues being                  discussing serious issues with
through the Mirrabooka Local Justice         discussed.                                   seniors at the workshop was a rare
Forum of the AJA at the Herb Graham          Their comments showed familiarity            and valuable event.
Recreation Centre.                           with death, sickness, injury, jail,          "These workshops need to happen
The workshop focused on violence             mental health, rehabilitation,               more often and I commend the local
occurring locally between families and       counseling, pain and stress as               AJA for taking the lead on this," she
also between different community             consequences of community violence.          said.
groups.                                      They called for better services in           "As an elder, it was very worthwhile.
Apart from the three high schools,           education, counseling, rehabilitation,       The young people around my table
other key organisations involved were        anger management, mediation and              certainly voiced their views and we
the City of Stirling and the Reel            alternative court models.                    found we very much agreed with each
Connections Project, the WA Police,          "The forum unanimously demanded              other."

THE second State Justice Congress                                                         Aboriginal Justice Agreement has
of the AJA will take place in Perth on
21 May 2008. Its agenda will include
the development of a State Justice
                                                   In Brief                               changed its name from Aboriginal
                                                                                          Policy and Services Directorate to
                                                                                          Aboriginal Services Directorate
Plan.                                                                                     (ASD).
                                             the two Kimberley regional
                 * * *                                                                    Its former policy function has moved
                                             coordinators, along with overseeing
The new AJA regional coordinator             the establishment of regional justice        into DotAG's new Strategic Policy
for the Pilbara is Maureen Kelly of          forums in the Pilbara and Kimberley.         directorate. The ASD is due to move
Port Hedland. Susan Murphy has                                                            from the 10th to the 12th floor inside
been handling the role over the last                         * * *                        141 St Georges Terrace, Perth, in
year. Susan will now provide extra           The section of the Department of the         June and will be on the same floor as
managerial support to Maureen and            Attorney General that manages the            the DotAG Director General.
CJS steps into AJA role
COMMUNITY Justice Services is
stepping up its engagement with the
Aboriginal Justice Agreement in the
North-West as the AJA develops new
local justice plans.
CJS is a division of the Department of
Corrective Services, which is a
signatory of the AJA.
A/Director North Sue Senior, who also
holds the Aboriginal portfolio for CJS,
is ensuring CJS takes up its role in local
AJA activities across WA in general
and in the North-West in particular.
"We have had to contend with a rapid
rise in offenders in the North-West and
staffing challenges but we are making
                                             CJS's Sue Senior (centre) meeting with AJA Regional Coordinators Donna Birch (left),
progress," Sue said.                         Susan Murphy, Liz Kelly and Maureen Kelly.
Assistant Commissioner Aboriginal            "This is essential if we are to engage the   However, Adult Custodial has a seat on
Justice Neil Fong has embraced the           communities in dealing with its justice      the Roebourne Local Justice Forum,
AJA on behalf of DCS and now oversees        issues at a local level," he said.           where it is a signatory to the Roebourne
all DCS involvement in the AJA.                                                           Local Justice Plan, and a seat is
                                             As a signatory, DCS automatically            available at all other forum locations
"The AJA provides an opportunity for         has a seat at the table of all local         close to a prison or work camp.
the community to provide comment to          justice forums, which mostly
the government on what it sees as            involves CJS because it has a greater        DCS can also have multiple places at
priority issues to be addressed," Neil       local presence than DCS's Adult              local forums where combined input is
said.                                        Custodial division.                          identified, agreed and prioritised.

OPA to
use our
The Office of the Public Advocate
(OPA) will become one of the first           Kezia Dawkins (centre) introduces the OPA to the AJA regional coordinators.
agencies to promote its services
directly through the forums of the           " It is important that OPA reaches out to    and information channel.
Aboriginal Justice Agreement.                its potential Aboriginal clients and lets    "We are happy to help other agencies
                                             them know about the services that the        improve delivery of their services to
The OPA's Aboriginal Community
                                             Office can provide to help vulnerable        Aboriginal people," he said.
Education Officer, Kezia Dawkins, has
                                             people," Kezia said.
made the OPA’s first presentation to                                                      "We are also pleased to provide a
the AJA's Regional Coordinators.             "The AJA offers an ideal network             channel of reference and consultation
                                             among local Aboriginal communities to        that takes the burden of over-
The Public Advocate can be appointed
                                             help inform people about guardianship        consultation off Aboriginal people."
by the State Administrative Tribunal
to make decisions on behalf of people                                                     For further information on the OPA,
with impaired decision-making                "In some cases, this is a highly sensitive   call 1300 858 455.
abilities if they do not have a family       subject so an OPA staff member will
member or carer who can fill the role or     make themself available after the              Contact AJA News
if there is conflict about what is in the    forum to listen to people's concerns and       AJA News is published by the Aboriginal Justice
best interests of the person.                let them know where to get more                Agreement Team. To suggest article ideas for AJA News,
                                             information," Kezia said.                      contact its Editor Allan Veal on (08) 9264 6464 or email
Kezia said an OPA representative
plans to discuss the OPA's services at       AJA Team Leader Gordon Cole                    MORE AJA INFORMATION:
the five Pilbara local justice forums        welcomed the OPA's recognition of the
later this year.                             AJA as community-based consultation

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