HEALTH & COMMUNITY
Justice reinvestment: Creating brighter futures for Aboriginal young people
A recent edition of Four Corners (http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/) focused on the issue of the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in the criminal justice system.
Four Corners reported on the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project in Bourke (North-West NSW) – an innovative, community-led initiative that aims to demonstrate how justice reinvestment approaches can reduce prison populations, save money, and build stronger communities and brighter futures for Aboriginal young people.
Justice reinvestment is a smarter approach to justice that builds stronger communities by redirecting money that would be spent on prisons into community services and supports. It is about addressing the underlying causes of crime and preventing it from happening in the first place.
Since 2013, Just Reinvest NSW (http://www.justreinvest.org.au/) (an independent, non-profit, member-based organisation) has been working in partnership with the Bourke community to develop a justice reinvestment framework. The Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project (http://www.justreinvest.org.au/the-maranguka-way/) is the first major justice reinvestment project in Australia.
You can also help spread the word about this important initiative using the package of content developed by Just Reinvest NSW.
Waste Aid – Community Environmental Advisor (Bourke)
A partnership agreement between Birrang Enterprise Development Co Ltd (Birrang), Waste Aid, NSW Health Aboriginal Environmental Health Unit and MPREC to collaborate on a pilot project to improve waste management and environmental health with the Bourke community.
Birrang will auspice the employment of the Community Environmental Advisor (CEA) in Bourke and support the community stewardship and community education components of the project.
Waste Aid is an industry-based registered charity working to assist Aboriginal communities to address waste management issues. Waste Aid’s mission is to improve public health, environmental and social outcomes in disadvantaged and remote communities through positive waste management solutions. See recent NITV story. http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2015/07/30/bourke-commences-long-awaited-clean
Based upon recycling being an identified service need in the Bourke Community Social Plans, Birrang commenced a recycling service in Bourke in 2009. Working through the CDEP program, participants gathered knowledge about current health regulations including WHS, dangerous goods, disposal of hazardous materials and public health requirements. Bourke Recycling also offered kerb-side and business pickups. The participants gained experience in communicating in the workplace, working as a team and as an individual, they applied time management skills and assumed personal responsibility for handling dangerous goods.
Additionally, participants had opportunities to up-skill by gaining relevant licenses as workplace needs were identified, and individuals responded to mentoring, e.g. operate a Forklift, Safe Manual Handling, Apply First Aid etc. An average of 30 participants attended 2 days per week. Many participants who said that they wanted a “real job”, identified Birrang Recycling Centre as an excellent stepping-stone. The recycling service was extended to operate in Brewarrina along similar lines. This recycling project began in April 2010 offering the residents of Brewarrina kerbside pickups of recyclable material.
The material was then sorted by CDEP participants and transported to Bourke for shipping. The centre was used as a training hub, during which participants received training in areas such as construction, tractor operations, first aid, chainsaw operations and working at heights in an effort to move into employment. The focus was to create a pathway towards employment and not merely ‘training for training’s sake’.
Bourke Housing Pilot
As a member of the steering committee for the Bourke Housing Pilot, Birrang played a pivotal role in community engagement initiatives in relation to this project. More specifically, Birrang led the community education program and community promotional The Project sought to address issues concerning social housing in remote and/or disadvantaged communities with a vision to develop an environmentally efficient and scalable Indigenous housing model for remote and regional areas.
As part of the engagement activities Birrang supported Lend Lease in conducting a competition across the Bourke Primary schools. Pictured below is Board Member Alistair Ferguson with Andrew Sheldrick (Lend Lease), Mick Gooda and Megan Mitchell (Australian Human Rights Commission) and Jackie Davis (Birrang).