NPA Licensing Muster – (held in conjunction with the Licensing Mob)
Bamaga – (18th of August at 8am – 4pm)
Licence Muster events provide remote communities with access to a range of licensing, registration and ID services! Whether you need help with your registration & licence renewals, photo ID cards or you need a to sort out a SPER debt, there will be a deadly team of cross agency professionals there to help you!
The NPA Licensing Muster Initiative is a cross-agency collaborative initiative of the following:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS)
Queensland Police Service
NPA Community Justice Group
Licensing Mob (Department of Transport and Main Roads)
NPA Family and Community Services
View Event Flyer:
The NPA Licensing Muster Initiative is a cross-agency collaborative initiative of the following:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services QLD (ATSILS)
Queensland Police Service
NPA Community Justice Group
Licensing Mob (Department of Transport and Main Roads)
NPA Family and Community Services.
ATSILS Licencing Muster 2019 1Following the success of the first ever NPA Licensing Muster in July 2019, ATSILS has again combined forces with the Queensland Police service, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Department of Transport and Main Roads (Licensing Mob), NPA Family and Community Services and the NPA Community Justice Groups to deliver a ‘Licencing Muster’ event in the NPA region on 12 September 2019.
This community event is an opportunity for the five NPA Communities (Injinoo, Umagico, Bamaga, New Mapoon and Seisia) to have unprecedented access to licensing and identity document-related services from a range of service providers. Eleven staff from seven different government and non-government service providers worked together on the day to service well over 80 community members to assist with a range of licensing and identity related issues. This is over triple the number who attended the last Muster in July, demonstrating continued and growing need for such Musters in the NPA.
As ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy has explained:
“These programs are important intervention and prevention approaches that are critical to blocking the fast lane to prison for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities. In consultation with the current Magistrate in the NPA region we put a spotlight on the disproportionate number of licensing issues ending up before the courts and the unacceptable social and economic costs to these communities.
In response we tasked our Prevention, Intervention and Community Legal Education Officer in the region to take the lead in coordinating key stakeholders to work together to develop solutions to address the underlying challenges that fuel this issue. These challenges include simple things we take for granted in urban areas, such as adequate access to basic licencing and registration services. ATSILS has long been a strong advocate for a smarter approach to this justice issue, and these Licencing Musters are examples of the important elements needed in the fabric of broader justice reinvestment strategies that can create stronger, safer communities in the region. The success of these programs to date is a credit to the vision and hard work of all involved.”
Building on lessons learnt from the last Muster, several targeted events were also offered in the lead-up to the big day on 12 September. Two Learner Licence workshops run by the Indigenous driver Licence Unit (Licensing Mob) were held prior which were targeted at Community Development Program (CDP) Participants and kids in years 10-12 at NPA State College who were eligible to receive their learners prior the Muster. Everyone who attended the Workshops passed their learner theory test and many went on to secure their learner licence at the Muster. However, inconsistent ID and lack of funds unfortunately remained a barrier for some who passed the test, and we intend to continue to work with those community members, so they are ready to get their licence when the next Muster comes to town.
Proactive assistance was also provided to the NPA communities with identity related issues in the lead up to the Muster, so they could have the necessary Evidence of Identity (EOI) required by the Licensing Mob sorted. This was in direct response to our understanding that inconsistent or insufficient identity documents is a major hurdle for community members in getting their licence. We therefore worked closely with the NPA State College, NPA Family and Community Services and the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to run an “Identity Drive” in the weeks prior. This resulted in over 20 birth certificate applications being lodged, as well as a number of birth registration and change of name applications. Many who were able to get their birth certificate at the Identity Drive were then able to attend the Muster and sort out their licence because they had enough EOI.
The Licensing Muster events continue to demonstrate the need for more proactive and intensive support for licensing and registration services in the NPA. Although we were able to help a significant number of people on the day, it was obvious to all service providers that consistent Muster events will be necessary to meet the enormous demand for services in the region that is currently going unmet.
We are hopeful that regular Licensing Musters (perhaps every 2-3 months) and continued interagency support would make a dent in the astronomical rates of unlicensed and unregistered driving in the NPA, and ultimately lower the numbers appearing before the Courts on related charges each month.
We are also aware that these licensing and identity issues, and lack of access to services, is also a significant problem for the Torres Strait region, especially the Outer Islands where no licensing services are available except through infrequent visits from the Indigenous Driver Licence Unit (Licensing Mob). We are committed to exploring further opportunities for replicating the Licensing Muster model in these communities as well, depending upon the continued commitment of all agencies to collaborate and resource such activities going forward.
We plan to hold the next NPA Licensing Muster in November 2019 (date TBC) and plan to build on both the successes and lessons learnt at this Muster to provide an event better Muster next time.

A plan to transform the justice system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Today the Change the Record Coalition launched an eight-point plan -Free to be Kids – National Plan of Action – to transform the youth justice system and prevent abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in prisons.

“The time to act is now. This is an historic opportunity for the Federal Government to make a difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” said Antoinette Braybrook, Co-Chair of Change the Record.

“The Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory demonstrated shocking abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in prisons, and we know that similar abuses are happening right around the country,” said Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of Change the Record.

Change the Record has said the Federal Government must:

Support children, families and communities to stay strong and together
Raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14
Get children who are not sentenced out of prison
Adequately fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled legal and other support services
End abusive practices in prisons
Set targets to end the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in prison
Improve collection and use of data
Work through COAG to reform State and Territory laws that breach children’s rights

Download Free to be Kids – National Plan of Action [PDF]


Change the Record - Free to be Kids






Recently ATSILS Communication and Sector Engagement Team met had met with Justin Giblett Coordinator of Kutta Mulla Gorinna (KMG), a deadly alternative learning program supporting and empowering our young ones to stay in contact with education and chase their dreams.

The program started in 2015 and it’s supportive and flexible approach to learning has attracted a number of disengaged/high risk youth back to an education pathway, diverted them away from the justice system and is achieving great attendance rates of between 80-90%. Despite its success however, the program has faced a constant battle in attracting regular funding and is in danger of closing its doors.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are significantly over-represented in the criminal justice system and are 24x more likely than non-indigenous juveniles to be in detention. As the QLD Government & other governments around the nation look to justice/social reinvestment solutions to address this issue, it is critical they invest and support programs like KMG already making a difference in their local community.

Justice Reinvestment is a holistic approach that see funds diverted away from prisons and towards programs that address disadvantage and the root causes of crime. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, these programs must be locally designed and community led to be effective.

KMG as a great example of a community designed and led initiative that can steer our youth away from the criminal justice system through education and create effective pathways to future employment for vulnerable kids.

Follow and support their great work here:

View Article: ‘At-risk’ kids could lose their final school’


ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy on ABC Speaking Out discussing the need for a new approach to crime and punishment.

“…instead of looking at our mob as the problem, look at us as the solution.”

As the Royal Commission into juvenile detention in the Northern Territory continues, legal rights advocates have called on governments to rethink their approach to criminal justice. Shane Duffy believes Justice Reinvestment could be a win-win solution for state and territory governments, as well as Indigenous communities.





This video explains Justice Reinvestment (JR). It describes how JR can be used to reduce imprisonment of young people, and of young Aboriginal people in particular.


Connection to culture & the fine art of diverting our young ones away from the justice system. Our Prisoner Throughcare Program is a part of the fabric of a justice reinvestment approach. Check out some of the innovative work happening in the Townsville region connecting young offenders with their culture as a foundation change and breaking the cycle of offending.


This video explains Justice Reinvestment (JR). It describes how JR can be used to reduce imprisonment of young people, and of young Aboriginal people in particular.

Change the Record


A major national inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must focus on identifying tangible solutions that address the underlying causes of imprisonment, says the Change the Record (CTR) Coalition. In welcoming today’s announcement of an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the coalition of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, human rights and legal organisations has said it is essential that the inquiry focus on practical measures that invest in and strengthen communities.

CTR Co-Chair Shane Duffy said, “For a long time we have been calling for the Federal Government to take a leadership role on these issues, and so we welcome the Turnbull Government beginning to step up to the plate”.

“This year marks 25 years since the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), but our people continue to experience imprisonment and violence at crisis rates. The new ALRC inquiry offers an important opportunity to shine a comprehensive light on these issues at a national level, and identify tangible actions for all levels of government” said Mr Duffy.

At the time the RCIADIC report was handed down  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were seven times more likely to be in prison, now in 2016 that figure has risen to 13 times. At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are experiencing high rates of violence, being 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs” said Mr Duffy.

View Full Media Release


Change the Record

shane_DuffyWELL WORTH A LISTEN: A 7 minute insight from our CEO & Change The Record Co-Chair Shane Duffy highlighting the burning issues driving incarceration rates and what’s needed to create smarter justice and safer communities.

The Change The Record Coalition is a group of key organisations who have come together and developed a concrete plan for Federal, State and Territory Governments to address soaring Aboriginal imprisonment rates and high levels of experienced violence within a generation.

Listen Here:…/

View the Plan: “Blueprint for Change”:

Change The Record – Steering Committee: