The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Agreement (QATSIA) is a pioneering document that was developed in 2000 to improve the way in which justice is delivered to Indigenous communities across Queensland. The agreement was designed to address the over-representation of Indigenous people in the state’s criminal justice system, as well as the high rates of recidivism among this population. Over the years, QATSIA has undergone several evaluations to measure its effectiveness in achieving these goals.
One of the key features of QATSIA is its focus on community engagement and participation. The agreement recognizes the importance of involving Indigenous communities in the design and implementation of policies and programs that affect them. This approach is evident in the QATSIA implementation plan, which outlines a number of strategies for improving the delivery of justice services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including cultural awareness training for justice system staff and the establishment of community justice groups.
Several evaluations of QATSIA have been conducted over the years, with varying degrees of success. One of the earliest evaluations was conducted in 2003 by the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General. The evaluation found that while QATSIA had raised awareness of indigenous justice issues, there were still significant challenges to be overcome in terms of improving the delivery of justice services to Indigenous people. The report recommended that a more targeted approach was needed, including the provision of resources to support community-based justice initiatives.
A subsequent evaluation in 2008 found that while there had been some progress in addressing Indigenous justice issues, there were still significant gaps in service delivery and community engagement. The report noted that there was a need for more community-led initiatives and increased resources to support these initiatives.
More recently, a 2019 evaluation of QATSIA found that while progress had been made in some areas, many of the recommendations from previous evaluations had not been fully implemented. The report concluded that there was a need for a more coordinated and integrated approach to Indigenous justice issues in Queensland, and called for increased resources to support community-led justice initiatives.
Overall, the evaluations of QATSIA have highlighted the importance of community engagement and participation in the delivery of justice services to Indigenous people. While progress has been made in some areas, there is still much work to be done to improve the delivery of justice services to Indigenous communities in Queensland. As such, ongoing evaluations and improvements to QATSIA will continue to be important in addressing these complex and challenging issues.