VACCHO Calls on State Government to Show Bold Leadership Following Underwhelming Response to Vital Yoorrook Recommendations

Apr 9, 2024

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) acknowledges the Victorian Government’s response to the Yoorrook for Justice Report, but is deeply disappointed by the decision to reject three critical recommendations.

The Yoorrook for Justice report was launched last September and included 46 recommendations relating to the child protection and criminal justice systems.

In response to the landmark report, The Victorian Government has offered;

• Full support to four recommendations.
• Rejected three recommendations.
• In-principle support to 24 recommendations.
• The remaining 15 recommendations will remain under consideration.

VACCHO is particularly concerned by the government’s decision to reject three of the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s vital recommendations that sought to continue to raise the age of criminal responsibility and address child protection.

Contact with the justice system further exacerbates the intergenerational trauma and cycles of disadvantage that undermine the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in Victoria.

By opting against Raising the Age of criminal responsibility to 14 as a matter of urgency, the Victorian Government is contributing to having Aboriginal children aged 12 and 13 locked up when they should be thriving at school and playing sport on the weekend.

The Yoorrook Justice Report was developed on the back of the deeply painful, yet compelling and undeniable witness testimonies provided by Aboriginal Community.

Through their powerful truth-telling at the Yoorrook hearings, Aboriginal Elders and Communities have provided the Victorian Government with an invaluable roadmap that paves the way towards healing for Aboriginal people.

VACCHO believes that by not adopting these critical recommendations the government is missing a once in a generation opportunity to deliver life-changing, transformative reforms for Aboriginal Communities.

VACCHO acknowledges the acceptance of four recommendations in full as a step in the right direction, but strongly encourages the government to show decisive leadership by fully implementing the 24 recommendations that have been accepted in principle.

“It’s time to draw a line in the sand. It’s time for real leadership – the type of leadership we’ve seen delivered by the Yoorrook Justice Commission.”

“Yoorrook’s recommendations carry a monumental amount of weight because they were the result of the bravery of Aboriginal Elders and Community members who showed tremendous courage by reliving their past trauma and sharing their powerful truth telling in a bid to make Victoria a better place.”

“I implore the Victorian Government to go beyond listening and hear the knowledge, wisdom, and insight of our Communities then act to fully implement all the recommendations of the Yoorrook Justice report.”

“As a modern society, we must not continue to passively accept glaring health and wellbeing disparities and having children locked up as the norm. This is the government’s opportunity to be brave and make history by partnering with Aboriginal Communities to deliver impactful and transformative reforms.”


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VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.