The Labor Party has promised $107 million to fund services and infrastructure designed to reduce Australia’s disproportionately high levels of Indigenous imprisonment.
The package includes $44 million for legal aid and $21.7 million for justice reinvestment programs.
If elected, the party will also adopt the principal that imprisonment should be a last resort and work with state and territory governments to look at alternative sentencing mechanisms including Koori courts and mediation forums.
Senator Pat Dodson and shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus said that the continuing over-representation of Indigenous Australians in the justice system was “unacceptable”.
“Nowhere is the story of unfairness and diminished opportunity more clearly defined than in the justice gap experienced by First Nations peoples,” they said in a statement.
“Labor believes that in tackling the entrenched disadvantages faced by First Nations peoples in the justice system, we must be guided by those who live the reality of the justice gap – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their community-controlled, representative organisations.”