Improving justice outcomes for Indigenous Australians

Release Date: 
24 October 2018
Media release

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion today released the independent review into the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report that found the majority of its recommendations have been adopted and implemented across all levels of government.

The 1991 Royal Commission proved to be a watershed moment for all levels of government across Australia to improve justice outcomes for First Nations people.

The Review, which was undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics, found 78 per cent of the 339 recommendations have been fully or mostly implemented across all levels of government.

At a Commonwealth level, 91 per cent of the recommendations have been fully or mostly implemented.

“The Royal Commission’s recommendations were monumentally important in driving improvements for Indigenous Australians,” Minister Scullion said.

“The latest findings are encouraging and confirm there has been significant progress made. I would like to thank the states and territories for contributing to this review.

“Many of the recommendations not fully implemented have been superseded by subsequent actions and policies, and ones not implemented are due to evidence regarding effective interventions evolving since 1991.”

Minister Scullion said despite the review’s finding that significant progress has been made in implementing the recommendations, Indigenous people are still over-represented in prisons.

The report reinforces the fact that the vast majority of policy levers that impact on Indigenous incarceration rates remain within the remit of the states and territories therefore we need to continue to work in partnership with all state and territory jurisdictions if we are to achieve meaningful and long term improvements.

Through COAG and Closing the Gap, the Commonwealth remains committed to leading national efforts to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in prison.

“Moreover, we are also continuing to work with state and territory governments to implement Custody Notification Services in all jurisdictions to ensure that we prevent needless Indigenous deaths in custody.

The introduction of Custody Notification Services (CNS) remains one of the key outstanding recommendations of the Royal Commission and to date only New South Wales has ever implemented a CNS. I wrote to all jurisdictions in August 2016 offering to fund the establishment and first three years operation of a mandatory CNS enshrined in legislation and while progress has been unacceptably slow I remain hopeful of delivering this important measure in the near future.

“Through the $5 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the Coalition Government is already investing in a comprehensive range of place based, locally designed, locally led and locally delivered services across the nation including:

  • More than $264 million to address the underlying drivers of incarceration and improve community safety;
  • $660 million to engage First Australians in meaningful and sustainable jobs including innovative Prison to Work and Vocational Training Education Centre (VTEC) programmes;
  • $400 million to support 25,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students get a quality education; and
  • More than $148 million in Indigenous business support which is also achieving significant positive Indigenous employment outcomes,

We reaffirm our commitment to do more to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and to listen to and include Indigenous voices as we develop long term and sustainable solutions that meet the genuine needs of First Australians.

More information on the Review is available.