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Federal & NSW Governments to Fund First Community-Led Justice Reinvestment Site in Australia

MEDIA RELEASE 12 March 2019

Just Reinvest NSW welcomes the Commonwealth and NSW governments’ announcement today that they will provide $1.8 million for Maranguka Justice Reinvestment in Bourke.

This is the first justice reinvestment site in Australia to receive support from the Federal Government.

The Federal Government has committed $1.5 million over five years and the NSW Government has committed $300,000 for the first year.

This co-investment has come through the Federal Government’s Stronger Places, Stronger People program. Bourke will be one of ten sites to receive funding.

This commitment comes after the release of a report by KPMG in November 2018 which identified the social and economic impact of the changes achieved in Bourke. The report estimated a positive economic impact of $3.1 million in one year (2017) and found that if just half of the results achieved in 2017 were sustained, Bourke could deliver an additional
economic impact of $7 million over the next five years.

Since 2012, Maranguka, the community-led entity in Bourke, in partnership with Just Reinvest NSW, has undertaken activities designed to create change within the community and the justice system.

Just Reinvest NSW is now engaging with additional communities in NSW who are keen to adopt a justice reinvestment approach.

Until now, Maranguka Justice Reinvestment has been largely supported by philanthropic contributions.

The NSW Government has provided in-kind support for Maranguka Justice Reinvestment and one-off funding for a data position. In 2015, the NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard was appointed as the cross-Government Champion for Maranguka Justice Reinvestment and he has expressed strong support for the work in Bourke since its commencement.

This is the first time the Federal Government has demonstrated support for community-led justice reinvestment.

On 14 February, in his Closing the Gap Speech, Federal Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Bill Shorten stated “A Labor Government will make justice reinvestment a national priority, because youth detention and jail time for young people should be a rarity, not a rite-of passage.”

In 2014, NSW Labor committed to the principles and policy of justice reinvestment and made a commitment to fund pilot sites prior to the 2015 election. On 3 March 2019, NSW Labor Leader, Michael Daley and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, David Harris announced their commitment to “Adopt the principles of Justice Reinvestment” and “deliver $4.5 million over four years to fund three pilot programs, which will be delivered through NGOs, and deliver a coordinating authority.”

The NSW Greens have supported justice reinvestment since 2011. They have committed to establish an independent NSW Justice Reinvestment body and a Justice Reinvestment Grants Fund of $50 million over five years.

Quotes attributable to Alistair Ferguson, Founder & Executive Director of Maranguka

“We are grateful to Minister Brad Hazzard who has been consistently championing this work, and the people of Bourke, since the very beginning. We also acknowledge Minister Paul Fletcher for his recognition and support for the transformative approach our community has taken.”

“This partnership with government provides a level of stability around, and commitment to, a core part of our Safe, Smart, Strong strategy to develop a more coordinated response and realignment of service provision in Bourke.”

Quotes attributable to Sarah Hopkins, Chair of Just Reinvest NSW

“Achieving outcomes like those seen in Bourke not only creates better outcomes for young people, their families and the community, it also produces better financial outcomes and is responsible economic management.”

“Just Reinvest is currently working with other communities in NSW who are keen to explore justice reinvestment for themselves. A small upfront investment has led to positive results downstream in Bourke. Governments should be getting behind justice reinvestment initiatives in other communities, and developing a reinvestment funding mechanism to support the long term sustainability of these initiatives. We need to be building stronger communities, not prisons.”

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