12 August 2020
Just Reinvest NSW joins the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited (ALS) in calling on the NSW Government to take strong steps towards their commitment to the new Closing the Gap Agreement, by voluntarily adopting more ambitious justice targets and by funding initiatives such as the Walama Court and community-led justice reinvestment.
“The new Closing the Gap Agreement represents an opportunity for Australian governments and First Nations peoples to work together to build safe and strong communities, and we are calling on the NSW Government to lead the way,” Just Reinvest NSW co-chair Sarah Hopkins said.
“The Summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic have shown us both the strength of Aboriginal communities in responding to crisis, as well as the the importance of governments getting behind community-led initiatives as a way to build resilience and ensure that people across NSW get access to the supports they need, when they need it.”
“Aboriginal communities have been generating ideas and solutions for generations, and now is the perfect time for governments to get behind initiatives such as community-led justice reinvestment and the proposed Walama Court.”
“Through Maranguka, the Bourke Aboriginal community is showing what’s possible when governments, public services, philanthropists and civil society turn up to support a community-led agenda.”
“Just Reinvest NSW is now working with community members in Moree and Mount Druitt to explore the possibilities of community-led justice reinvestment. They need funding support to get the initiatives they are designing off the ground, and numerous other communities are keen to start similar conversations.”
“The proposed Walama Court is an important part of a justice reinvestment approach. By supporting this systems change along with community-led justice reinvestment on the ground, NSW can take significant steps towards reducing the number of Aboriginal people being unnecessarily locked up.”
“Working together to support Aboriginal community leadership, NSW can turn the corner. “We’re encouraging the NSW Government to respond to this new opportunity to ‘close the gap’ by elevating the voices of Aboriginal community members, especially the voices of Aboriginal people with disability, women and young people,” Sarah Hopkins said.
“An important accountability mechanism for the NSW Government in forming jurisdictional agreements is to take on and work towards ambitious NSW specific justice targets, as called for last week by the ALS.”
Sarah Hopkins is Co-Chair of Just Reinvest NSW and the Managing Solicitor of Justice Projects at the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited.