Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement: Phase 1
|Date: ||1 January 2000|
|Sub Category:||Framework Agreement | Indigenous Partnership|
|Alternative Names:||AJA (Victoria)|
|Subject Matter:||Collaboration / Partnership | Health and Community Services | Law - Policy and Justice|
|Summary Information: |
|The Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (the Agreement) is the joint initiative of the Victorian State Government (the Government) (through the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Human Services (DHS)), the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (VAJAC), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and the Aboriginal community (through the Aboriginal Regional Councils of Tumbukka and Binjurru). It is the first significant Indigenous policy initiative launched by the Victorian Government and maximises Aboriginal participation in the development of policies and programs in all areas of the justice system. The Agreement stems from the Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Key to the Agreement is the growing partnership between the Government, ATSIC and the Regional Councils of Tumbukka and Binjurru. The aim of the Agreement is to address the ongoing issue of Aboriginal over-representation within all levels of the criminal justice system, improve Aboriginal access to justice-related services and to promote greater awareness in the Aboriginal community of civil, legal and political rights.|
|Detailed Information: |
|In July 1997 a National Ministerial Summit was held on Aboriginal deaths in custody. Flowing from that Summit the Government convened a steering committee comprising representatives from VAJAC, DOJ, DHS agencies, and ATSIC. The steering committee’s terms of reference were that they should work in ‘partnership with the Aboriginal community and with a view to increasing co-ordination at a local, departmental, inter-departmental and State-wide level’, in particular to ‘develop a strategic planning and program delivery framework aimed at reducing Aboriginal contact with the criminal justice system’. The resultant Aboriginal Justice Agreement is intended to provide a framework for justice agencies and the Aboriginal community to work together to address the complex issues that underpin over-representation within the criminal justice system. It is intended that the Justice Agreement will be included in the corporate and business plans of the DOJ and DHS and their respective business units, agencies and authorities.
The Agreement is part of a whole-of-government approach to Indigenous issues and needs in Victoria through the development of a Statewide Action Plan, a strategic framework to be coordinated through a new ministerial committee on Aboriginal Affairs, chaired by the Premier. The Agreement is to be viewed in the context of a range of Government policies and initiatives such as Government policies on justice and community safety, the Victoria Police Aboriginal Policy and policies on drugs and juvenile justice.
The Aboriginal Justice Advisory Forum is the peak coordinating body responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the Agreement. The forum will be assisted by the Aboriginal Justice Working Group and on behalf of both the Forum and the Working Group, the Indigenous Issues Unit of the Department of Justice will be responsible for coordinating and monitoring the overall effectiveness of the Agreement.
The Agreement sets out a range of ‘Implementation milestones’ to be put in place during Year 1 (2000-2001) and during Year 2 (2001-2002). In Year 3 (2002-2003) consolidation of the Agreement’s initiatives and the various processes to be put in place during the previous 2 years, is to take place together with evaluation and review of the effectiveness of the Agreement and its initiatives.|