Bourke, New South Wales, Australia:
It is a time of year when we talk about failure. Each year the Closing the Gap report is a salient reminder we are not doing enough in key areas of Indigenous health, education and employment. And one thing we know: if the federal government took the responsible step to include justice targets in Closing the Gap, we would not be meeting those either.
All this money being spent with so little result: top-down and siloed solutions, a massive disparity between spending on prisons and spending on preventing crime from happening in the first place, the worsening statistics on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander overrepresentation … why are we still getting it so wrong?
The reason – at least in part – is that the solution is complex and it involves a different way of doing business. When it comes to justice, it requires a considered analysis of what is happening across different communities – what is causing people to offend, where are the gaps and overlaps in the existing service system? And it requires community ownership of the solution.