My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Corrections, and is about the Government’s administration of the Reboot youth crime prevention program. I should start by acknowledging the ongoing commitment of the Minister and Government to funding a range of initiatives aimed at minimising the proclivity for criminal behaviour among young Victorians. In Reboot’s case, it is a program targeted specifically at 10 to 14 year-old children who have already engaged in low-level offending and/or who pose a potential for further criminal behaviour. It is collaboratively delivered by a number of different agencies. Anglicare leads the work, and is supported by organisations such as Berry Street, Quantum Support Services and local police officers, as well as coaches who work individually with the young participants. However ,I am concerned that it is simply not clear as to whether the Victorian version of this program (on which I believe well over a million dollars has already been spent) has ever been the subject of a detailed, formal review. This is unlike in South Australia, for example, where the Australian Institute of Criminology was commissioned to conduct a full process and outcome evaluation of that State’s Reboot program. That publicly-available report comprehensively analysed the program, identified various flaws in its operation, and made 14 recommendations for improvement. The action that I therefore seek from the Minister is that he clarify whether there have been any formal reports or evaluations on the program. If the answer is ‘no’, I would be interested in the explanation as to why. Alternatively, if the answer is ‘yes’, I would ask that he make it far clearer than it is now to Victorians as to where those reports and evaluations can be found.
It has long been my very strong contention that primary prevention and early intervention programs are, in many respects, the most important parts of a Government’s armoury in trying to stop future crime. We talk so often in this State about the problems associated with the overcrowding in our prisons; and the large caseloads for our magistrates and judges. Yet these issues wouldn’t be as significant if more was done to take offenders and potential offenders off a path of crime in the first place. But, equally, it is obviously fundamental that any program should only be continued if it is genuinely meeting its purpose. At the moment, I simply don’t know whether that is the case with Victoria’s Reboot program. And that, in itself, is my point tonight.