THE Federal Attorney General has labelled the justice outcomes for Indigenous Australians "bleak".
He said the current situation underlines the need for an agreed national approach to Indigenous law and justice issues.
He was speaking ahead of the approaching deadline for Ministers to endorse the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework on 30 September this year.
Citing statistics showing Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous Australians, and that Indigenous juveniles are about 28 times more likely to be detained as non Indigenous juveniles, A-G Robert McClelland said more needs to be done to prevent Indigenous Australians from coming into contact with the justice system.
McClelland told an audience at the University of Adelaide today that legal services provided to Indigenous Australians are "vital to ensuring fair and equitable justice outcomes" for Indigenous offenders and victims.
But, he said "it is also important that legal professionals provide broader case management support to clients where possible".
"I am encouraged by the increasing use of alternative dispute resolution in a wide range of matters affecting Indigenous people, including native title, family law and employment" McClelland said.
The Standing Committee of Attorney-General (SCAG) has recently agreed to a range of principles underpinning a new Indigenous law and justice framework. It is aimed at articulating an agreed, evidence-based approach to guide and service providers in identifying the most appropriate response to specific issues across all jurisdictions, McClelland said.