The shocking abuse of Aboriginal children in our justice system, exposed by Four Corners in Australia’s Shame
, has sparked a national debate and posed a glaring challenge to us all - there must be a better way. Four Corners will follow up tonight with an alternative vision in Backing Bourke
The community of Bourke know the pain of losing too many children to the criminal justice system. Through their Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project
they are changing this pattern. Maranguka is a community-led collaboration which brings together the Aboriginal community, services and systems in Bourke to work together to improve young people’s wellbeing and life opportunities.
As Professor Michael Marmot comprehensively demonstrates in his recent Boyer Lectures
, tackling injustice in Australia, requires one thing first - empowering communities. At the Forum we are proud to be backing Bourke and their vision for a better way. I encourage you to watch their story on the ABC tonight.
Over the past six months we’ve undertaken a review of our purpose, strategy and partnerships to provide a roadmap for the Forum’s future. What we’ve learned from our work with Bourke and our other partners is that while education is vital to a young person’s success, it is often not enough on its own to overcome the complex challenges faced by many young Australians.
Our new five-year strategy focuses on developing holistic approaches to young people’s development to deliver improved education, health and social outcomes. And we see active, resourced and empowered communities as central to the lives of thriving young people.
We will build a small portfolio of long-term partnerships. The Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project is one. We are excited to announce our new partnership with the Colman Foundation
and Doveton College
, Victoria. A pioneer in Australian education, the Doveton model is designed to holistically meet the needs of children from birth to Year 9, and their families, while building the community capacity for change. We are committing $1.5m over 10 years to strengthen their evidence base and to replicate the Doveton model in other sites.
Alongside our long-term partnerships we will also provide small grants to seed innovation. One of our first grants will support the Nawarddeken Academy
in Arnhem Land to further their unique school model where children learn on country and curriculum is developed with elders.
I’d like to thank our partners, board, colleagues and critical friends. To everyone who has contributed to our strategic review process, your guidance and expertise has been invaluable. Please read on to find out more about our new strategy and recent partnership news.