PIACs submission to the Finance and Public Administration Committee Inquiry, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience of law enforcement and justice services Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
This Finance and Public Administration Committee inquiry aims to identify the underlying causes of disproportionate interaction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the justice system, and whether legal assistance services are adequate to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. On the basis of its legal casework, principally through the Indigenous Justice Project, PIAC concludes in its submission that there is significant unmet legal need for this group of Australians, particularly in the area of civil law. Further, poor resourcing is compounding other barriers to access to justice, such as geographic remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage. PIAC also sets out a number of causative factors which it believes contributes to the high rate of contact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with the criminal justice system, such as proactive policing of bail in NSW, and calls for justice reinvestment initiatives and justice targets to be implemented. Finally, PIAC urges the Committee to build on successive past enquiries and consultations in this area, and to make recommendations that: are based on consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; involve co-operation between State/Territory and Federal governments; are bipartisan and have majority cross-party support; and involve consultation and co-operation between all relevant government departments.