The Cowra Business Chamber hosted researchers from the Australian National University to its meeting on Wednesday, June 11 to hear about the research project - Cowra's Youth of Today helping Cowra's Youth of Tomorrow.
Over the past few months the Guardian has been running articles about the progress of the research. Dr Phyll Dance, Mr Len Kanowski and Dr Jill Guthrie said they were warmly welcomed to the meeting by members of the Business Chamber to the meeting.
"We would like to thank the Business Chamber, especially its Chair, Mr Ben Casey, for the invitation to attend the meeting. Each meeting is held at a member's business venue - and last Wednesday we had the opportunity to be hosted by Mr Mark Rankin of Chernco who took us all on a tour of his exciting business venture," Dr Dance said.
"We found it extremely interesting to be a part of the Chamber's discussions. In particular, we really appreciated being asked to inform the Council about the research, its progress so far and its future directions."
It's clear that members of the Chamber, being community members and parents themselves, have a clear understanding of how young people can make some unwise decisions in their early years, but more importantly, that those decisions should not be allowed to taint them for the rest of their lives. Attendees quickly understood the aims and objectives of the research and were keen to be involved.
"They appreciated why Cowra is a unique location in which to undertake the research, as well as some of the underlying considerations about why some young people might find themselves in a situation that brings them in touch with the law," Mr Kanowski said.
"Business Chamber members were very mindful of the fact that young people often need to be given a second chance when they do make mistakes, and that even older, experienced people can make mistakes," Dr Guthrie said.
The research project is exploring issues of Justice Reinvestment theory. Justice Reinvestment is a rethinking of public policy so that taxpayer funds are reinvested into the community instead of being spent on imprisoning people for low-level criminal activity. That rethinking includes all levels of government and non-government organisations, including the business sector, as well as service providers, the education sector, the health sector and judiciary.
"The meeting resulted in some good discussion about how these issues might impact on the business sector in town. We look forward to further discussion with the business sector and indeed how all sectors might be able to work together," Dr Guthrie said.
More information about the research can be found at http://ncis.anu.edu.au/cowra/
-Dr Jill Guthrie