Notice of Motion “Leaving Care Plans”

On the 22nd November 2011 Jan put a Motion on the Notice Paper in NSW Parliament about the importance of Leaving Care Plans. Jan has called on the government to fulfil its legislated obligation of providing leaving care plans to all young care leavers. Currently the government only provides plans to 18% of young people leaving foster care.

Leaving Care Plans assist young people who have none, or limited support, with information on what services they can access and how they can access them. The plans are intended to empower young people in their journey into adulthood.

For more information on this issue go here: 

To help with the campaign you can download a copy of the petition here.

If you have an inquiry please call the office on 9230 2204, and speak to Ella Buckland or Bronwen Regan.

RESPECT Multimedia Project

On 10 November 2011, Jan made a speech in the NSW Parliament in support of an exciting community driven multimedia project, auspiced by the Taree Indigenous Development and Employment (TIDE). The project engages 10 to 15-year-old at-risk Aboriginal youth in film-making. One of the recent films developed by the project, entitled RESPECT, was cast with 100% Aboriginal talent  and presents an uplifting real life drama about respect for the Elders in a contemporary Aboriginal community on Australia’s Mid North Coast.

The project has a number of partners but is currently seeking funding to continue to operate in TAFE across the region in coming years. To find out more about the project visit Forster Films at (Project Coordinator Greg Smith). Copies of the DVD are available to community groups, donations of $10 for the DVD are encouraged to support the project.

Jan also hosted a meeting in NSW Parliament about the project earlier this year. Scroll down to see a copy of Jan’s Adjournment Speech!

Parliament Jubilee Room, 18 October 2011

Jan Barham MLC (third from right) with supporters of the RESPECT Project including (from left) Nathan Moran CEO Birpai Land Council , John Clarke OAM Chair Biripi Medical Centre, Chair Ganga Marrang, CEO TIDE; Sheree Drylie CEO Forster Land Council; Linda Burney MP; Dr Stephen Jurd Associate Professor Clinical Psychiatry Sydney University; Rosie Herbert PACE Coordinator TIDE; Chris Sheed OA Manager TIDE; Mark Rutherford Client Services Officer Probation and Parole Mid North Coast; Leah New Engagement Officer Forster Films

ADJOURNMENT SPEECH Legislative Council, 10 November 2011

The Hon. JAN BARHAM [6.05 p.m.]: The Respect Project is a multimedia project operating on the mid North Coast that focuses on 10-year-old to 15-year-old Aboriginal youth. It uses film-making processes to provide a way to address their real-life dramas. For several years the Respect Project has been engaging Aboriginal community members in the development of short films, providing insight into traditional Aboriginal stories and culture. The Respect Project is targeted at young people at risk and their families, especially those who have had contact with the criminal justice system. The project brings together local Aboriginal land councils, the police, Corrective Services, community development bodies and education providers, among others, with the support of non-government organisations such as Great Lakes Community Resources and the Forster Film Festival.

The project has most recently published a film and DVD resource entitled Respect, which features local Aboriginal actors. It focuses on issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, history, culture and respect within these communities. Respect has been shown and well-received in schools, detention centres, prisons and offender programs across the region. In relation to the film His Honour Judge J. C. Nicholson, SC, said, “The film ‘Respect’ does more in 30 minutes than I achieve in a two-hour summation in a six-year sentence.”

On 18 October I was invited by the Respect Project to host a discussion about the project. The Attorney General, and Minister for Justice and the member for Canterbury both attended the discussion to speak with members of the board of directors of the Respect Project about a proposed expansion into TAFEs across the mid North Coast. I thank them for their interest and ongoing attention to this project. I note that funding had previously been made available under the previous Minister for Community Services, the member for Canterbury. Local Aboriginal community representatives included Nathan Moran, the Chief Executive Officer of the Birpai Land Council; John Clark, OAM, the Chair of the Biripi Medical Centre and Chief Executive Officer of the Taree Indigenous Development and Employment; Sheree Drylie, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forster Land Council; and Mark Rutherford, the Aboriginal Liaison Officer with Corrective Services.

These people were amongst the project members who spoke eloquently at the meeting about the positive impact that the project has had on their communities. The mid North Coast region is amongst those in New South Wales experiencing a growing number of young Aboriginal people in detention. As a result of engagement with the project, these local organisations have been able to trace a significant decrease in antisocial behaviour and reoffending of young people in their communities. I have spoken before in this place about the power of art to bring communities together and to tackle difficult issues in a meaningful way. The Respect Project is an excellent example of this.

Members may also recall another highly successful multimedia project that worked with Aboriginal young people at risk called Koori Exchange, which operated in Cranebrook in western Sydney. It was recently profiled on the ABC’s 7.30 Report. By engaging young people in the research, writing, filming, acting, production and screening of short films, and by telling the stories that young people want to tell, projects such as the Respect Project build the leadership skills of these young people and help them front difficult issues. It also provides them with vocational skills and TAFE certification in some circumstances.

The Respect Project is also an excellent example of a community-government partnership, with resources for the project pooled from a number of different areas. Financial support for the project has included funding from the former Department of Community Services. The project has been successful because of the hard work and personal dedication of individuals. However, it is a sad reality that even highly successful projects find it a constant struggle to maintain funding.

A reduction in offenders leads to significant financial savings to a range of government services and prevents trauma to individuals and families who are impacted by violence. Other members in this place, including The Greens justice spokesperson, Mr David Shoebridge, have spoken about the importance of supporting justice reinvestment programs as a way to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It is heartening to see the willingness of this new Government to consider such approaches. I urge members in this place to consider ways to ensure that projects such as the Respect Project are given the support they deserve. I offer the opportunity to any member who is interested in watching the film to contact me and I will make it available for their viewing.

Fletcher Street Cottage Drop-in Centre

The Fletcher Street Cottage Drop-in Centre is a welcome refuge for Byron’s homeless. The Cottage, on the corner of Fletcher Street and Lawson Street, is a joint venture between the Community Centre, the Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul and Byron Shire Council and is operated by Darren, Leanne and Katie from the Salvation Army.

The Cottage is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm to provide food and hot drinks, daytime shelter and safe storage for belongings. It offers a caring environment where the needy, lonely and disconnected of our community experience a sense of being valued and supported.

Watch the documentary made about the Fletcher Street Cottage Drop-in Centre here.

Visit the Byron Bay Community Centre here.

Film crew:

Crew –
Lorraine Bell
Grace Larkin
Andrew McGlone
Patrick Spencer
Rani Willis

10th Anniversary of the Arakwal Indigenous Land Use Agreement

On 22 October I was pleased to attend the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Arakwal Indigenous land use agreement [ILUA], which led to the creation of Arakwal National Park at Byron Bay. The ILUA was the first of its kind in Australia and paved the way for other similar agreements around the country. The ILUA and the jointly managed park continues to deliver cultural, economic and environmental benefits for the whole community.

 I had the privilege of playing an active role is the long process that led to development of the Arakwal ILUA, and congratulate all those involved, particularly the Bunjalung Elders who continue to drive the partnership.

 View the National Parks and Wildlife Service photos gallery of the event at