News & Current Affairs

By Satomi Hamon


ACT’s first Justice Reinvestment Trial: Yarrabi Bamirr

Yesterday, Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury and Winnunga Nimmityjah chief executive officer Julie Tongs, announced the launch of ‘Yarrabi Bamirr’, the ACT’s first Justice Reinvestment Trial.

The ACT Government has partnered with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community provider to develop a family-focused response to address the over-representation of Indigenous people in the justice system.

A Productivity Commission report on government services, released in January, showed that young Indigenous people were vastly over-represented in the ACT’s youth justice system. According to an article in the Canberra times, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were 19 times more likely to be locked up or subject to a supervision order in the ACT than non-Indigenous youths, at a rate of 294 per 100,000 people aged 10-17.

The 12-month trial will involve ten Aboriginal families in Canberra, who will work with social workers to design plans addressing their health, housing, education and employment needs to reduce the territory’s offending rates.

The name of the program, Yarrabi Bamirr, means “walk tall” in Ngunnawal, and is the first trial in the ACT based on the idea of ‘justice reinvestment’, which is where resources are directed to reduce the causes of crime.

“Justice Reinvestment is one of the ways we are striving to develop smarter, community and family-focused, inclusive and cost-effective outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Justice Reinvestment also looks to reduce crime by diverting those at risk from the criminal justice system. The evidence shows that where justice reinvestment measures are put in place, families and the wider community benefit.”

Yarrabi Bamirr has been co-designed with a range of stakeholders, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers, community groups, academics and those with lived experience of the justice system.

“Only by listening to, and working collaboratively together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, can we comprehensively address the troubling over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system,” Mr Rattenbury said in conclusion to his statement yesterday.