Community backs justice reinvestment program in Moree

POSITIVE TALK: Just Reinvest NSW Champion Mick Gooda lead the community discussion to help come up with strong plans moving forward.
POSITIVE TALK: Just Reinvest NSW Champion Mick Gooda lead the community discussion to help come up with strong plans moving forward.

More than 100 members of the Moree community gathered together for the Just Reinvest NSW justice reinvestment meeting at the Dhiiyaan Centre on Friday, February 8. 

Just Reinvest NSW works with local communities to devise community-led solutions to lowering crime rates and creating safer environments for residents.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss ways in which the community can contribute to lowering the crime rate in Moree. 

The large crowd – which included representatives from police, local schools and various community groups and organisations – was very passionate about the community and were keen to help out and move the justice reinvestment program forward, with some immediate results to come out of it.

“It ended on a good place with the community agreeing to carry forward with some work in this space,” Just Reinvest NSW Community Engagement Manager Jenny Lovric said.

“About 20 people stepped up and said they want to start by leading a committee to go further, which is really super exciting.”

The committee will consist of a wide range of members of the community, including police, council, community organisations and government organisations.

“There’s a really good cross-section of people that want to go forward,” Ms Lovric said.

One of the major takeaways to come out of the meeting was a large focus on the young people of Moree.

Just Reinvest is currently running a youth survey in which there has already been some good feedback to come from that.

“A couple of students stood up and had some really good things to say,” Ms Lovric said. 

“There is a commitment with the community to run a youth council so that’s a takeaway.” 

Nothing is completely settled yet but people have agreed to meet again soon.

Moree elder Eddie Pitt was positive about the initial meeting.

“The majority of people there were supportive of people forming a committee,” he said.

“I think the major thing is we wanted to get from the people is whether they'd like to do something similar to Bourke and put our own spin on it.

“The main thing is to get the community involved, it has to be a community driven plan, anything to lower the crime rate and give back would be fantastic.

“I guess the move forward is positive, people are interested in forming a committee.”

Mr Pitt said the committee will get together and draft a plan, drawing on community and stakeholders’ input, and will go from there.

Miyay Birray Youth Service CEO Darrel Smith is one of the members of the newly-formed committee.

“With that program I could see it as a benefit for Moree,” Mr Smith said.

“We're getting agencies to work together to get some better outcomes for crime results in Moree which would be great.”

“It's obviously going to take a bit of time to get everything organised but I think it was a really good starting point.

“We had a really good turn up of community members. It all seemed positive that people wanted to see some reduction in the crime of Moree.”

Ms Lovric said it was great to already see strategies being put into place and to see so many people who care about the community.

“It was good. There’s a lot of passion. There’s a lot to talk about,” she said.

“The takeaway is everyone absolutely agrees that there needs to be a focus on young people and the voice of young people.”