The Theory

Initiated upon the principles of Asset Based Community Development, Justice Reinvestment, and Collective Impact; The Shire of Halls Creek Dept. of Community and Youth Development led an 18-month long community co-design process with each community. This resulted in a Shire-wide Outcomes Framework, and Individual Community Plans (signed by relevant Elders and leaders), which are owned and recognised by Kija and Jaru leaders and community. 

Asset Based Community Development: mobilising and connecting the assets, strengths, capacities and contributions of communities and individuals, rather than just focussing their deficiencies and needs; and engaging them as co-owners, co-designers and co-producers of positive community actions rather than treating them just as consumers, clients and recipients of the programs and services of agencies.

ABCD has been integral to undertaking a true co-design, upholding Self Determination, and building local capacity and resilience in the Olabud Doogethu project.

Justice Reinvestment: a form of preventative action on financing which provides funding and support to deal with the front-end, ‘up stream’ causes and social determinants of criminal behaviour (e.g. family breakdown, poverty, unemployment, lack of meaningful training and job pathways, drug and alcohol dependence, mental health issues etc.) rather than just focussing on the current and highly expensive consequences of incarceration. 

The first phase of a Justice Reinvestment initiative involves data and asset mapping to – 
• identify communities with a high concentration of offenders;
• assess the particular socio-economic issues facing those communities; and 
• discover, map and connect community and network assets and opportunities. 

Justice Reinvestment originated in the U.S. as a means for states with unsustainable prison populations to reduce their rate of incarceration and associated economic burdens, by diverting resources from the tertiary end of the criminal justice system upstream, where costs are significantly cheaper, to early intervention, prevention, diversion and rehabilitation. Texas saved $443 million over 2008/2009, and in 2012 closed a prison for the first time.

 In Australia, JR has developed further. The town of Bourke, NSW has achieved recognition as the first place-based, Aboriginal community-led JR site, through the Maranguka JR Project in partnership with JustReinvest NSW. Maranguka Bourke is credited with cutting major offences by 18% and domestic violence and drug offences by 40% between 2015 and 2017. Justice Reinvestment was last year adopted as policy by the ACT Government.

Collective Impact is a framework and an intentional process for addressing complex social issues and opportunities through organised and committed collaboration.

It involves five key elements; namely-
• a common agenda,  including a shared understanding of the problem and a joint vision and approach to solving it through agreed-upon actions;
• collection of data and measurement of results consistently across all the partner groups, ensuring shared measurement for alignment and accountability;
• a plan of action that outlines and coordinates mutually reinforcing activities for each partner;
• open and continuous communication among the partners; and
• a ‘backbone’ organisation with allocated staff and specific skill sets to serve the entire initiative and coordinate participating organisations and  agencies.

“It’s more about opportunity – creating opportunities for young people and for the community… If we work together and be vocal collectively, we are most likely to get things happening for the town and for us.”- Darrilyn Gordon, SoHC Councillor