Victoria has failed Indigenous Victorians in the 30 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down.
The Royal Commission recommended reform that would set our state on the path to better meet the needs of Indigenous Victorians and stop the overrepresentation in our criminal justice system.
But in the past decade, the number of Indigenous people in prison in Victoria has increased a staggering 148 per cent.
Since 2010, the number of Aboriginal people in prison on remand has jumped 431 per cent.
And the imprisonment rate of Aboriginal Victorians continues to outstrip that of non-Indigenous people in Victoria (1,848.0 per 100,000 in June 2020 (up from 707.6 in 2009), compared to 134.1 per 100,000 for the non-Indigenous population).
Reducing incarceration rates of Indigenous Australians continues to be a priority on the national agenda, but Victoria is yet to make meaningful progress to address overrepresentation of adults and youths.
It took six years in Government for Labor to commit a paltry amount of funding towards Closing the Gap initiatives.
It’s up to the Andrews Labor Government to fulfil its responsibility to represent the best interests of all Victorians by implementing meaningful reform, including the recommendations from the Royal Commission.
Any death in custody is one too many.
Advancing reconciliation and self-determination of Aboriginal Victorians must continue to be an important part of healing past wrongs.
We have the blueprint for reform that will change and save lives at our fingertips.
The Victorian Liberal Nationals remain committed to working with the Indigenous community to achieve the Closing the Gap targets so Indigenous Victorians have the same opportunities as all Victorians.
Peter Walsh MP Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs