Community Transition and Learning Centre

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (14:50): I truly thank the member for King for her interest in this. This is a great initiative and a very important project for South Australia. I am pleased to inform the house that this is another example of how well the Marshall government and the Morrison government have come together to jointly fund an exciting and innovative project. The new community transition and learning centre will be built in Coober Pedy and, again, this is how and why we are delivering better services for South Australia.

As everyone in this place is aware, there is a significant over-representation of Indigenous offenders in the South Australian justice system, with around one-quarter of South Australia's offender population being Indigenous, and that just isn't acceptable. Importantly, Indigenous offenders also face a higher rate of reoffending than non-Indigenous offenders at around 75 per cent. In a bipartisan manner, this place is very committed to reducing reoffending in the 10by20 program.

It is no surprise that Indigenous offenders, in particular Indigenous men from the APY lands, face additional challenges and complexities due to geographic isolation, social and economic disadvantage and intergenerational trauma. The Marshall government is committed to rehabilitation programs that reduce recidivism where possible and break down the cycle of imprisonment. The complex nature of Indigenous reoffending gives rise to the need to develop tailored rehabilitation programs, and experience shows that delivering services on or close to the APY lands can be very effective.

Since coming to this place, this government has been working hard to deliver the community learning and transition centre in the Far North of South Australia. I was up in the APY lands just a few months ago. There are challenges up there, and this is one project we think will very much help in aiding people in that community who have been put before our justice system. This exciting project is another example of how the Marshall government is working hard with our federal colleagues to deliver not only funding but better services for our community. Again, I thank the federal Morrison government for their support of this project. It is amazing what can be achieved when you have a good relationship with the federal government.

The centre will deliver a place based on response to the geographic exclusion and disadvantage Indigenous offenders face. We know there is disadvantage across the correctional system, and the challenges faced by Indigenous offenders are not always that different from the challenges facing all offenders, including lack of suitable accommodation, drug and alcohol issues and employment pathways.

However, there is no denying that the remoteness of our Far North communities results in additional disadvantages for Indigenous offenders. That is why we have worked with the federal Morrison government to secure joint funding for the community transition and learning centre project. I am proud that we are delivering this project and that we are addressing the needs of Indigenous offenders as they return to their communities on community-based orders.

A significant amount of work has been undertaken to enable this project to commence, not least of all through the federal government and their $2.3 million investment and a strong working relationship with the Far North communities and landowners. It is my hope that the centre will result in long-term sustainable outcomes through the provision of targeted services, cultural support, skill development, future employment, and drug and alcohol support as well. By assisting Indigenous offenders to complete their custodial orders in the community, they will receive targeted support that ultimately will assist in reducing reoffending. I look forward to updating the house on the important project as construction gets underway.

Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login