Maranguka Justice Reinvestment in Bourke: landmark report demonstrates economic impact of $3.1 million

A landmark report by KPMG estimates that changes in Bourke, the site of Maranguka Justice Reinvestment, resulted in a gross economic impact of $3.1 million in 2017. If just half of the results achieved in 2017 are sustained, Bourke could deliver an additional economic impact of $7 million over the next five years.

The report, launched today in NSW Parliament assesses the impact achieved in 2017 in Bourke, the site of Maranguka Justice Reinvestment, the first major community-led justice reinvestment initiative in Australia.

Of the $3.1 million economic impact in 2017, approximately two-thirds relates to the justice system and one third is broader economic impact to the region.

This is the first ever report of its kind in Australia, assessing the substantial economic impacts of investing in justice reinvestment and supporting communities to lead the solutions.

Since 2012, Maranguka, the community-led entity in Bourke, in partnership with Just Reinvest NSW, has undertaken activities designed to create change within the community and the justice system. Those activities have included: Aboriginal leaders inspiring a grassroots movement for change amongst local community members, facilitating collaboration and alignment across the service system, delivering new community based programs and service hubs, and partnering with justice agencies such as the police, to evolve their procedures, behaviour and operations towards a proactive and reinvestment model of justice.

The report highlights improvements in three key areas:

  • Family strength: a 23% reduction in police recorded incidence of domestic violence and comparable drops in rates of reoffending
  • Youth development: a 31% increase in year 12 student retention rates and a 38% reduction in charges across the top five juvenile offence categories
  • Adult empowerment: a 14% reduction in bail breaches and 42% reduction in days spent in custody.

Maranguka Justice Reinvestment has been largely supported by philanthropists. The economic impact was approximately five times greater than the operational costs in 2017.

In recognition of KPMG’s commitment to using their skills and resources to effect real change for Indigenous Australians, the report was prepared on a pro bono basis.

Quotes attributable to Alistair Ferguson, Founder & Executive Director of Maranguka (the most advanced community-led, place-based, justice reinvestment proof of concept in Australia)

“Community are feeling safer.”

“Community are involved in the decision-making unlike ever before.”

“The Bourke community and services are now experiencing the benefits of working more collaboratively together in community.”

“We are providing the platform to make decisions about what we need in our community. Maranguka is creating real collaboration, building strength and confidence, and bringing stakeholders to the table in a way that is action, outcome and solution focused. Every day here in Bourke we are seeing the benefits for our community, and in particular our young people. ”
“This report confirms what we in the community already know – that we are building local capacity and empowering our community to develop local solutions to our local issues.”

” There is a strong sense of positivity in Bourke. People feel empowered to make change. They are owning the solutions, and with that, there is optimism that more things are possible.”

Quotes attributable to Sarah Hopkins, Chair of Just Reinvest NSW

“The experience in Bourke demonstrates that governments should be getting behind justice reinvestment initiatives in other communities, and that funding models need to be developed to support the long term sustainability of those initiatives. We need to be building stronger communities, not prisons.”

“Five years ago, the NSW Government told us to show them justice reinvestment works. Five years on, Maranguka has led the change and we have the evidence. A small upfront investment has led to positive results downstream. It’s time for the NSW Government to adopt a justice reinvestment framework: to provide upfront investment for communities ready to adopt a justice reinvestment approach and for a body to support those communities.

“What’s needed now is a justice reinvestment mechanism to shift funding away from prisons and into community-led crime prevention, diversion and community development.”

Quotes attributable to Mick Gooda, former Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and former Commissioner of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

“It’s common sense. When communities lead the change they want to see, and when services genuinely collaborate to generate that change, we see results.”

“The driver of these results is the community coming together, taking control, engaging with the disengaged and using lots of data to drive their initiatives.

Quotes attributable to Robert Tickner AO, Australia’s longest serving Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Indigenous Affairs

“The evidence is clear. Prisons don’t make our communities safer. They cause further damage to communities already suffering disadvantage. Federal, state and territory governments must work to address the underlying causes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being imprisoned. Justice reinvestment is a framework through which this is possible. And we can see it’s working in Bourke.”

For media enquiries please contact Richard Lenarduzzi on 0411 254390.

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