Where we are up to
There are 16 Aboriginal organisations accredited as sponsors under the Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme. As at September 2020, these organisations had sponsored 154 people, with more than $196,970 worth of fines on active WDPs. The difference in the amount outstanding on active WDPs since the last update (a $168,000 drop over 12 months) is due to participants completing their WDPs.
A joint Fines and Enforcement Services (FES) and Sheriff’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer (SALO) Grampians region WDP sponsor recruitment drive in February resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from a number of local community organisations including Barengi Gadjin. Together FES and the SALO hosted events at the local Justice Service Centres with interest from more than 20 organisations located in Nhill, Ballarat, Horsham and Stawell. The organisations who attended included current WDP sponsor Goolum Goolum, Local Justice Officer, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BADAC) shared BADAC’s experience with the scheme during the presentations. This was an endorsement from an external voice, an Aboriginal organisation WDP sponsor, and demonstrated the value of the WDP program to Aboriginal community members.
As identified in the Department of Justice and Community Safety's Corporate Plan 2019–23, a key priority is integrating services and tailoring them for local communities. FES's work in the South West and the Grampians region over this past year partnering with Aboriginal stakeholders and community members has increased participation of Aboriginal people in the WDP Scheme. All ACCO in the South West region are now WDP sponsors.
FES has been working closely with the Loddon Mallee region SALO to support the region's WDP sponsor engagement. Meeting with current sponsor Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BDAC) and potential sponsor Njernda has strengthened the continued effort to encourage Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to sign up as WDP sponsors and to support them to continue working with the scheme.