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Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Agreement

Category: Agreement
Date: 31 March 2004
Sub Category:Framework Agreement | Indigenous Partnership
Location:Western Australia, Australia
Alternative Names:
  • AJA (Western Australia)
  • Subject Matter:Law - Policy and Justice | Collaboration / Partnership | Health and Community Services
    URL: http://www.correctiveservices.wa.gov.au/A/aboriginal_justice_agreement.aspx?uid=2232-7259-4929-3188
    Summary Information:
    The Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Agreement ('the AJA') was signed on 31 March 2004 and has a duration of five years.

    The AJA focuses on creating a collaboration and partnership between the Western Australian Government (specifically, the Department of Justice, Department of Indigenous Affairs, Department for Community Development and the Western Australian Police Service) and Aboriginal people regarding justice-related issues.

    Similar Aboriginal Justice Agreements exist or have existed in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
    Detailed Information:


    Prisoner statistics

    The AJA states that as at 2003, Aboriginal people comprised 3% of the state population, 35% of the adult prison population and 73% of all youth detainees in Western Australia (AJA 2). This meant that Western Australia had 'the highest rate of Aboriginal imprisonment in Australia' (AJA 2). Furthermore, it was five times more likely that Aboriginal people would be victims of crime in Western Australia than would non-Aboriginal people (AJA 3). As at 30 June 2005, Western Australia still had 'the highest age standardised ratios of Indigenous to non-Indigenous rates of imprisonment' in Australia (ABS 2005).

    Aim of the AJA

    The aim of the AJA is to establish 'a framework for improving justice-related outcomes for Aboriginal people' (AHA 6). This includes five components:

    '[1.] Establishing safe, secure and just communities;
    [2.] Increasing the capacity of government and Aboriginal people to work in partnership;
    [3.] Ensuring government meets its obligation to provide equitable access to justice-related services across the State;
    [4.] Reducing contact with the justice system; and
    [5.] Lowering the incarceration rate of Aboriginal people.' (AJA 6).

    Outcomes of the AJA

    The AJA commits the Government of Western Australia and ATSIC to three outcomes (AJA 8-9):

    1. Creating safe and sustainable communities, including through enabling greater access to police services and greater protection for people who report crime.
    2. Reducing the number of victims of crime, through establishing restorative justice for offenders, increasing support for victims and other measures.
    3. Reducing over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system, including through 'early intervention, prevention and diversionary programs', use of alternative dispute resolution and the recognition of imprisonment as a method of last resort.

    Monitoring, reporting and further policies

    The AJA provides for monitoring and annual reporting to Parliament through the Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council and the Cabinet Standing Committee on Social Policy (AJA 13).

    The AJA is to be followed by a Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Implementation Plan, regional plans and local plans (AJA 14).

    Relation to other agreements and policies

    The AJA was initiated in the context of the Statement of Commitment to a New and Just Relationship between the Government of Western Australia and Aboriginal Western Australians, which enables separate agreement in areas such as health and housing and justice (AJA 5). The AJA is also informed by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Ministerial Summit on Indigenous Deaths in Custody , Putting People First: The Western Australian State Government's Action Plan for Addressing Family Violence and Child Abuse in Aboriginal Communities, the Framework to Advance Reconciliation, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators, the Western Australian COAG Trial and the other Aboriginal Justice Agreements mentioned above (AJA 17-18).

    Related Entries

    Agreement
  • Statement of Commitment to a New and Just Relationship between the Government of Western Australia and Aboriginal Western Australians
  • Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Agreement
  • Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement: Phase 1
  • Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement: Phase 2
  • Organisation
  • Department of Justice (WA) - Signatory
  • Department of Indigenous Affairs (WA) - Signatory
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) - Signatory
  • Department for Community Development (WA) - Signatory
  • Western Australia Police Service - Signatory
  • Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia - Signatory
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services - Signatory
  • Event
  • Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
  • Ministerial Summit on Indigenous Deaths in Custody
  • The Gordon Inquiry
  • Policy/Strategy
  • Framework to Advance Reconciliation

  • References

    Report
    Steering Committee of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) (2003) Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2003
    Resource
    Government of Western Australia Justice-Related Agencies, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services (ATSIS) and the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) (2004) Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Agreement
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) Prisoners in Australia, 2005
    M H Roberts, Minister for Justice (2004) Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, Signing
    Government of Western Australia (2005) Gordon Newsletter

    Glossary

    Framework Agreement | Indigenous Partnership

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