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Cape York Justice Study

Category: Event
Date: 1 January 2001
Sub Category:Report | Research
Place:Cape York
State/Country:Queensland, Australia
Alternative Names:
  • Fitzgerald Cape York Justice Study
  • Cape York Justice Report
  • Summary Information:
    The Cape York Justice Study was announced by the Queensland Government in July 2001 with an interim report to be produced within approximately four months. A range of terms of reference were set out as follows:

    a) To identify the causes, nature and extent of breaches of the law in the Cape York Indigenous communities;
    b) Identify the causes, nature and extent of alcohol and substance abuse in the cape York Indigenous communities;
    c) Determine the extent of the relationship between alcohol and substance abuse and breaches of the law in the Cape York Indigenous communities;
    d) Identify strategies, including effective current practice, to address factors contributing to breaches of the law in Cape York Indigenous communities, in particular alcohol and substance abuse; and
    e) Report to the Premier by November 2001 that recommends strategies to:

    - reduce breaches of the law in Cape York Indigenous communities;
    - reduce alcohol and substance abuse in Cape York Indigenous communities;
    - protect members of Cape York Indigenous communities from violence, especially women, children and the aged;
    - prevent young people from becoming involved in alcohol and substance abuse and offending;
    - rehabilitate offenders and provide appropriate interventions for those at risk of offending.

    Recommended strategies were to:
    - be achievable only through the smarter use of existing State resources; and
    - support the continuing development of partnerships between the Queensland government and Cape York Indigenous communities.
    Detailed Information:
    The study process included a general call for written submissions, invitations to various organisations and individuals to provide submissions, as well as visits by the study team to Cairns, Cooktown, Coen, Weipa and various Cape York communities for discussion and consultations.

    Other material also considered by the study team included earlier articles, reports, papers, submissions and records of past discussions on Cape York. Expert advice was also sought and obtained.

    The report is divided into three volumes. Volume 1 consists of the introduction, the study team's summary of the contents of the brief, as well as conclusions and recommendations. Volume 2 comprises the brief outlining the situation of Cape York Indigenous Communities and recommendations, while Volume 3 comprises Appendices and Attachments to the brief of Volume 2.

    By way of introduction, Volume 1 of the report comments on the effect of value judgements on previous and present government policy and emphasises the 'plain obligation' of the Queensland Government to assist the Indigenous people of Cape York (see Volume 1, 8). It also emphasises the importance of further consultation with the Cape York communities before the Government acts upon the report.

    Volume 2 sets out the brief in full, entitled The Situation of Cape York Communities. The brief covers 12 areas including a post-contact history of Cape York, alcohol, violence, crime and justice, government services and funding, governance of Cape York communities, a sustainable future, education, health services, land, themes, and study team recommendations.

    Volume 3 includes appendices to the report including details of the study team and departments, experts and volunteers, submissions received and descriptive data about Cape York.

    The report identifies the need for attitudinal and behavioural change necessary for the continued existence of Cape York communities. It identifies the major role of community leaders in social empowerment and development, including the fostering of identity, spirituality and culture of the people, and the conduct of local government activities directed to physical conditions in the communities.

    The Government's role in supporting community efforts, to provide funding, facilities, services and training is also emphasised. The recommendations include reference to how Government might best perform its functions and, through appropriate consultation, may assist communities in becoming harmonious and orderly.

    The terms of reference of the study are directed towards alcohol and substance abuse, violence and breaches of the law. The study also considers a range of factors including issues relating to health, education, employment and other economic considerations. The report emphasises that new structures and organisations should not be created unnecessarily. Money should be expended directly for the benefit of communities. Unnecessary structures should be dismantled or simplified. The recommendations overall are based on a strategy of a simplified, coordinated Government approach, the development and implementation by each community of action plans and continued monitoring of outcomes.

    Related Entries

  • Cape York Partnerships
  • Policy/Strategy
  • Meeting Challenges, Making Choices

  • References

    Justice Fitzgerald (2001) Cape York Justice Study Report

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