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Aboriginal Reference Group

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:26 :26 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Correctional Services a question.

Leave granted.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: In a media release dated 16 September last year, the minister indicated that the government’s Aboriginal Reference Group was to provide advice to the strategic advisory panel on factors that contributed to Indigenous reoffending rates in South Australia. The strategic advisory panel was then to submit its advice to the government by December 2016. Will the minister advise the chamber whether the Aboriginal Reference Group has provided their advice, and, if so, what are the recommendations of the group?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:27 :03 ): I thank the honourable member for an important question regarding a particularly important subject. The Aboriginal Reference Group has been working closely, and continues to work closely, with the department. Previously, the reference group was specifically put in place to work with our strategic policy panel to contribute towards the government’s strategy to address the issue of reducing reoffending.

I stated in this chamber previously all the benefits and the importance of reducing the reoffending rate, which sits currently at 46 per cent in South Australia, and our target is to reduce that by 10 per cent. What is not widely known, of course, apart from the fact that there is a massive over-representation of Indigenous people within our correctional institutions in terms of those people in custody, is that Indigenous people are also disproportionately represented when it comes to the reoffending rate.

That means that, when it comes to tackling our objective of reducing the rate of reoffending, or achieving our 10 per cent reduction, it is particularly important that the government is conscious of delivering a policy response to the unique needs of Indigenous people within the Correctional Services system: hence, the reference group being put together.

The government shortly will announce our holistic strategy in response to the strategic policy panel that worked with the Aboriginal Reference Group to make sure that our strategy to deliver our 10 per cent reduction in reoffending takes into account those recommendations. I expect that will be released in coming weeks, and I am more than happy to ensure that the honourable member is provided with a copy of that report once it is publicly released.

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