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Taking action with new Reconciliation plan

TASMANIA Legal Aid is taking action with a new Reconciliation Action Plan, aiming to improve connections with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and tackle pressing issues that face it.

TLA director Vincenzo Caltabiano said the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week, which ran from  27 May to 3 June was ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.’

Tasmania Legal Aid launched its Reconciliation Action Plan, designed by palawa man and Graphic Designer Caleb Nichols-Mansell, in May at its office in Hobart.

The plan prioritised tackling high rates of incarceration of First Nations people and the number of First Nations children in out of home care, as well as creating more welcoming office spaces, working with Aboriginal organisations to help shape their services, and advocating an increase of the criminal responsibility age from 10 to 14 years of age.

First Nations People comprise around eight per cent of TLA’s clients, making them an important provider of legal services to them.

Mr Caltabiano said the plan represented their “commitment to partner with the Aboriginal community to improve our services and work for better justice outcomes for First Nations People.”

At the launch, Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder, artist and musician, Uncle Dougie Mansell performed a Welcome to Country.

A Tasmanian Aboriginal-designed plaque was also unveiled, and Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive officer Tracey Dillon received the Reconciliation Action Plan.

“Over the next 18 months TLA will strengthen our engagement with the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities,” Mr Caltabiano said.

“We will build our cultural skills and understanding and advocate for better justice system responses.”

The TLA also launched its Reconciliation Action Plan in Launceston on May 31 and will launch it in Burnie on June 2.

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