MS TIERNEY (Minister for Corrections) — I rise to update the house on the Andrews Labor government’s important programs that assist in the rehabilitation of prisoners, in particular Aboriginal prisoners in the corrections system. Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of launching the Koori Art Trail expansion at the beautiful Beaufort Lake, which features 12 artworks painted by prisoners from the nearby Langi Kal Kal prison. I take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the Pyrenees Shire Council for the role that they have taken in making sure that this project was implemented and is a very successful initiative.
Not only is the art trail a terrific showcase for talented Aboriginal artists at Langi Kal Kal but it is also a great example of how engaging prisoners in meaningful activities can assist in their rehabilitation and help them give something back to the Victorian community. The initial Koori art trail launched inside the grounds of Langi Kal Kal last year has allowed the participating prisoners to demonstrate their considerable talents as well as share their culture with fellow prisoners, staff and visitors. Every piece of work on this trail, whether in the prison or around Beaufort Lake, offers a window onto the cultural upbringing of the prisoners and the stories and traditions of their people. The Koori art trail is a terrific example of the work being done right across the corrections system to support Aboriginal prisoners and offenders through culturally focused programs.
Earlier this year I had the privilege of launching the Kaka Wangity Wangin-Mirrie grants. Administered by Corrections Victoria, these grants are investing almost $2.5 million over three years in a range of Aboriginal cultural programs in prisons and community correctional services. The successful programs, including 32 being delivered this year, have been chosen because of their capacity to strengthen cultural connections and develop important life skills.
As corrections minister I am committed to working closely with the Aboriginal community and Corrections Victoria to provide meaningful, culturally focused programs to help Aboriginal prisoners and offenders break the cycle of reoffending.