Victoria Legal Aid

Government’s commitment to truth-telling not reflected in Yoorrook response

First Nations people who shared their stories with the Yoorrook Justice Commission deserve a more comprehensive response from the government.

Wednesday 3 April 2024 10:41pm

We acknowledge that the government has provided its responseExternal Link to the landmark Yoorrook for Justice report which was finalised on 31 August 2023.

As the government notes, the Yoorrook for Justice reportExternal Link paints a clear picture of the ongoing injustices faced by First Peoples in Victoria.

We are disappointed that, after eight months of consideration, the government has rejected three key recommendations for meaningful reform and has failed to provide a more comprehensive response or commitment to act on others. This is despite Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCO) advocating for these changes for many years.

While we further examine the detail of the government’s response, First Nations Services Director Ashley Morris says:

'Every day, through our work we see the grave and ongoing impacts of colonisation on Koori and First Nations people in Victoria. The Yoorrook Justice Commission made its recommendations emphasising the urgent need for transformational change to prevent further harm.

Through their engagement with the Commission, First Nations people have again recounted their confronting and traumatic experiences of the criminal justice and child protection systems, echoing stories told over thirty years ago in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and other landmark inquiries and reports.

In light of the decades of recommendations for change and ongoing advocacy by First Nations communities, I had hoped that, this time, the government would reflect its stated commitment to Treaty and truth telling in Victoria, by listening to the voices of First Nations people.'

Whilst we share the disappointment of our partners at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and recognise the ongoing strength, resilience and advocacy of First Nations people across the state, we also acknowledge the role we play in these systemic injustices as part of the legal and justice system.

We are committed to working with First Nations communities, ACCOs and government to meaningfully address the recommendations to bring about transformative change.

More information

Read the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s statement about the government’s responseExternal Link

Read the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service’ statement about the government’s responseExternal Link

Read our response to the Yoorrook for Justice reportExternal Link

Media enquiries

For media enquiries please contact Media, Communications and Engagement Manager, Naomi Woodley at or 0409 281 304.

Reviewed 03 April 2024