16.37 The AJA ACT – called „the Partnership“ – was developed in 2015 with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body.  The partnership includes an action plan to reduce the average number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people incarcerated to less than 10% of the inmate population. It does this by improving „the accessibility, use and effectiveness of justice-related programs and services,“ including distraction programs.  16.31 ADAs can be difficult to develop. They rely on the collaboration of government agencies and the development, identification and engagement of relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organizations.  States and territories seeking to formalize Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in criminal justice decision-making should develop appropriate governance structures that reflect the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in that jurisdiction. Victoria`s first Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AY1 2000-2006) was developed in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991 and the National Ministerial Summit on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1997. The Victorian AJA is a long-term partnership between the Indigenous community and the Victorian government. The agreement signatories commit to working together to improve Indigenous justice outcomes, family and community safety, and reduce over-representation in Victoria`s criminal justice system. Each subsequent phase of AJA built on its predecessors (AJA2 2006-2012, AJA3 2013-2018) to further improve Justice programs and services for Indigenous peoples.
The Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement is described and explained. It aims to address the over-representation of Indigenous peoples at all levels of the criminal justice system, improve Indigenous access to justice-related services, and promote greater awareness of civil, legal and political rights in the Indigenous community. It aims to achieve this goal through a joint effort by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Victoria Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee, the Department of Justice and the Department of Social Services. Here you will find stories of great justice wisdom from people across the territory, which are now the basis of the Northwest Territories Aboriginal Justice Agreement. Leanne says Indigenous people are being denied access to all the court services that other Territorians take for granted. The Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement is a long-term partnership between the Aboriginal community and the Government of the State of Victoria. Each phase of AYA has built on its predecessors to further improve justice outcomes for Indigenous peoples. 16.29 State and territory Governments may have other judicial strategies or frameworks in place to reduce the detention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
However, the ALRC believes that AAAs are an important initiative to promote partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, advance strategic planning, and facilitate collaborative, culturally appropriate and effective criminal justice responses. In 2017 and 2018, the Ministry of the Attorney General and indigenous justice unit visited 80 Indigenous communities and organizations and conducted 120 consultations to gather views on how to address justice issues facing Indigenous Territories. The agreement is supported by research, evidence and Aboriginal views and experiences. Evidence of a number of unsuccessful policy initiatives by various governments in recent years has shown that the key to success lies in genuine principles of consultation and co-design. The agreement established a standard for genuine consultation of the Community. We strongly support the agreement and the principle that „improved Justice Outcomes for Indigenous Peoples can only be achieved if the Government of the Northwest Territories works in partnership with Aboriginal people to implement AYA and Indigenous leadership is crucial.“ Together, we can ensure that Indigenous Territories in contact with the justice system are treated fairly, respectfully and without discrimination as victims, abusers, witnesses and families. „We need a fair justice system – and no matter your skin colour, no matter where you live, whether remotely or in the area, you should have access to services that meet your needs. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria and working in the justice sector have different cultures. The term „Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander“ is used to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia.
When we talk about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, the term „Aboriginal“ is used. Other terms such as „Koori“, „Koorie“ and „Aboriginal“ are retained in the names of programs, initiatives, publication titles and in relation to published data. 16.56 In light of the Victorian AJA, Jesuit Social Services noted that „AYAs have a positive impact by drawing the government`s attention to the need to address ATSI`s judicial issues and by contributing to a more coherent government focus on these issues.“  „The Justice Agreement is actually the model, the roadmap, that will change and dictate a new way of doing business in the Indigenous justice system,“ said Leanne Liddle, a woman from Arrernte who led the consultations. In collaboration with Indigenous communities, the Government of the Northwest Territories is developing an Indigenous Justice Agreement. By all objective standards, we have failed our First Nations. Indigenous Territories are over-represented in the criminal justice system, both as perpetrators and victims. The effects of historical policies, which included the forced removal of children from their families and the failure of the Northwest Territories intervention (which completely undermined all principles of free will or self-determination), combined with the fact that most Indigenous Territories live in remote or very remote communities with limited resources and infrastructure, have perpetuated this disadvantage. These have had profound consequences on intergenerational trauma, loss and grief. During the seven years of the agreement, the signatories aim in 2 stages to reduce the rates of penalization and incarceration of Indigenous Territories. engage and support Indigenous leaders; and improving judicial responses and services for indigenous territories. 16.53 CBAs should provide for the creation of common judicial objectives between departments and authorities.
Programs and initiatives to address incarceration rates may otherwise be isolated from other agencies and initiatives. 16.33. Once established, ADAs should be developed in all states and territories (with the exception of the Northern Territory) in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups. They were to cover „the provision, funding and coordination of Indigenous programs and services.“  ADAs should include, among other things, objectives to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system and to reduce incarceration rates. 16.47 ADAs are an important means of establishing or strengthening partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as an opportunity to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are centrally involved in the development of policies that affect them. Many submissions highlighted the need for a genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the development of justice strategies.  As the Australian Red Cross has pointed out, „to be successful, any response to aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice issues must be motivated and owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organizations.“  There is a direct link between the formulation of an AYA and the existence of an independent community advisory body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. When there are no advisory bodies, AJA is less likely to be developed, and there is also less chance that state judicial authorities will develop their own strategic strategies and initiatives.  Leanne Liddle, Director of the Indigenous Justice Unit, focused on improving justice outcomes for Indigenous Territories in her 2019 Menzies Session last month (October 31). 16.55 In the context of Western Australia, kimberley Community Legal Services argued that „without AJA, efforts to minimize the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the Western Australian criminal justice system will be further reduced by the lack of coordination between VA justice programs.“  16.43 Victorian AJLAs were evaluated in 2012. The evaluation found that the agreements have „significantly improved court outcomes for Koories in Victoria,“ but that improvements could be made. For example, it has been found that there are few distractions for women, one of many important risk points in the system that could be strengthened to reduce over-representation.  16.32 ADAs were first introduced after a summit of major Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organizations in 1997. .