Munabinyga Community Justice Panel: Social Change and Inclusion

Institute DRP Recipient: Dr Mark Harris

Collaborators: NA

Funding: Disciplinary Research Program

Status: In progress

This project aims to evaluate the importance of Aboriginal Community Justice Panels (ACJP) in Robinvale, Victoria which has among the highest percentage of Indigenous population of the towns in the State. ACJP are staffed by volunteers from the local Indigenous community who are on call attend the local police station or watch house when an Indigenous person is arrested. These volunteers ensure that the Indigenous person in custody is safe. The project will critically evaluate the role of the ACJP in Robinvale as a means to provide insight into their importance, particularly for local government, as well as the Victoria Police. The project is particularly significant in the Institute's aim to understand and support the role of collective action in advancing progressive social change in a township. The project is also significant for understanding questions of social inclusion and for its consideration of the role of Indigenous women in bringing about these changes. The project also represents and inclusive and participatory development practice in addressing the systemic disadvantage and discrimination that Indigenous communities have encountered historically in their dealings with the justice system.

Central Land Council's Community Development and Governance Programs - Independent Evaluation

Institute staff: Associate Professor Chris Roche 

Collaborators: James Ensor of the People and Planet Group, Petronella Vaarzon-Morel, Miles Holmes, and Jane Walker 

Funding: Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), Central Land Council

Status: Completed

The Central Land Council (CLC) undertakes a range of programs which focus on positive social, cultural and economic outcomes for remote Indigenous communities, and which aim to increase the capacity of people and groups within communities supported by the CLC. 

Institute staff lead a multi-disciplinary team to undertake an independent evaluation to assist the CLC to 'explore and improve its development work in order to maximise the benefits for Aboriginal people' with a particular focus on its community development and governance programs. 

The findings highlighted that projects supported by CLC have produced outcomes valued by Aboriginal people. The Community Development Program and Governance Project have played a critical role in empowering Traditional Owners and community residents across central Australia within a context of broader disempowerment. The recommendations to CLC included: promoting community histories and culture amongst non-Aboriginal staff working as community service providers, making more of the information, data and experience it has amassed to influence the practice of others and promoting a better understanding of Aboriginal ways of working.