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Date posted: 23 March 2012
The Indigenous representative body of Australia, the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, has recently called for a target relating to justice be added to existing Closing the Gap targets which are monitored by Australian governments. The targets, relating to health, education and employment outcomes for Indigenous people, are part of efforts made to reduce Indigenous disadvantage.
Co-chairman of the Congress, Les Malezer, has also criticised the Senate committee for a recently tabled report recommending that minor offences be dealt with through infringement notices. He described the recommendations as 'minor and superficial'. The Senate report was tabled shortly after proposals by the Gillard government for legislation to introduce harsher penalties for possessing alcohol in dry Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.
The proposals have sparked concerns that the already high rates of Indigenous offenders in jail could be exacerbated. The rate of Indigenous imprisonment in the Northern Territory jumped 10% in 2011, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 15 March 2012.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald