Thursday, 07 April 2022
Media release

Supporting Indigenous youth in Western Australia

Joint media release with the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP

The Morrison Government is supporting Indigenous youth in Western Australia, funding new research to reduce crime by delivering an extra $50 million under round six of the highly-successful Safer Communities Fund.

Almost $1.5 million in extra funding has been allocated to Murlpirrmarra Connection Limited, a not-for-profit organisation based in Welshpool. The organisation tackles anti-social and negative behaviours by offering structured diversions such as culturally-appropriate training and educational programs, as well as sporting events, camps, and tournaments to support the education and employment of Indigenous youth.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said ending anti-social behaviour and reducing rates of youth incarceration were key priorities for the Morrison Government.

“These products and research will directly benefit Indigenous youth, and assist in closing the gap – a key priority for the Morrison Government,” Minister Andrews said.

“They will reduce offending, provide at-risk youth with a safe space and a physical outlet as an alternative to being on the streets unsupervised. The project will promote resilience, inclusion and teamwork, build strong relationships and provide youth with education, training, and employment opportunities that empower them to become independent and self-sufficient in the long term.

“The Morrison Government is backing community-led solutions to crime – ensuring everyone can go about their lives free from violence, harassment and anti-social behaviour.”

In parallel, the Morrison Government’s Indigenous Justice Research Program (IJRP) – announced by Ministers Andrews and Wyatt in October last year ​– is proceeding at pace, with nine projects at seven institutions now set to receive more than $1 million in project funding for research into the factors that contribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over-representation in the criminal justice system.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said the IJRP would provide a solid research and evidence base for all governments, Indigenous organisations and communities to achieve the Closing the Gap targets to reduce Indigenous Australians’ disproportionate contact with the criminal justice system.

“Over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system is a multifaceted issue, and we must do everything we can to address the drivers, in a culturally informed and coordinated way,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The projects selected for the Indigenous Justice Research Program will delve into mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, family violence, the provision of Indigenous language interpreting in courts and connection to culture.”

The grant to Murlpirrmarra Connection will support up to 2,800 Indigenous youth across 72 sites in regional Western Australia, and will fund an Indigenous tennis program, delivering tennis training to Indigenous youth, and an Indigenous education program – providing Year 7 to Year 12 students with end-to-end educational support and support with employment at the conclusion of their secondary studies.

Under the IJRP, Curtin University of Technology, James Cook University, Department for Correctional Services SA, University of New South Wales, Monash University, University of Western Australia and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre will each receiving funding for research projects.