Federal Labor have announced that if it wins the next election, it will allocate $90 million to reforms aimed at reducing the rate of incarceration for First Nations people.
The announcement was made in Perth today to mark the 30th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.
It is understood that $79 million would be used for justice reinvestment initiatives across the country, including funding for more than 30 communities to assist them in designing programs focused on rehabilitation, family and domestic violence and school retention.
$13 million will also be committed to supporting Aboriginal legal services representing families in coronial inquests.
Making the announcement in Perth alongside Senator Pat Dodson and the head of the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA Dennis Eggington, the Shadow minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney says the funding will be a part of a buy in proposal with states and territories.
“It will not be eaten up by middle-men and it will be direct negotiations with states and territories who are critical partners in this, I can assure you.
There is real enthusiasm here in the west and I expect the same sort of enthusiasm across all states and territories because they all want to bring down the rates of incarceration.”
Ms Burney said the current system is not working for First Nations people.
“We can’t go forward as a nation when you have the level of incarceration of First Nations people and the levels of deaths in custody.
One of the real issues that contributes to incarceration is inter-generational trauma, the amount of children removed…homelessness. The underlying issues that contribute towards people in jail.”
Meanwhile the federal government has said it is committed to hitting its new Closing the Gap targets of reducing the rates of incarcerated First Nations by 15 per cent over the next ten years.
The government announced it will invest $2.4 million over the next three years to establish Custody Notification Services in South Australia as well as boosting funding for the service in the Northern Territory and Victoria.