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Australia’s biggest Roo Tail cook up

Published: 3 Jul 2015

Acacia Prison is having one of Australia’s biggest “Roo Tail” cook-ups to celebrate NAIDOC week with its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners.

Honouring Aboriginal culture in a tradition which brings family and friends together, more than 300 tails are cooked on hot coals and shared between Aboriginal offenders and staff at the Serco-run prison.

One Aboriginal prisoner explains: “This is what you do at home. Brings all the families together, the elders know how to cook it. We go hunting, get some kangaroos and we cook it in the ground.”

Events during NAIDOC week (5-12 July) at Acacia feature an opening ceremony with special motivational speaker Lawrence Riley, the Community Person of the Year at this year’s Perth NAIDOC awards, a performance by Acacia’s Aboriginal dance troupe and a didgeridoo player.  A series of football matches and other social activities are also run throughout the week to promote pro-social interaction and celebrate Aboriginal culture.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners make up approximately 40% of Acacia’s male medium security population but Aboriginal adults only make up 2.9% of the state’s population.  Maintaining connection to culture and country is an important part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender rehabilitation and also assists with reintegration with their communities upon release.

“NAIDOC is one of the most important events for Aboriginal offenders to celebrate and stay connected to their culture and communities on the outside.  It is also enables non-Aboriginal staff to develop a greater empathy and understanding of Aboriginal culture and how they can support our ATSI prisoners,” said Acacia Prison Director, Nick Cameron.

Acacia Prison is privately operated and managed by Serco Australia through a contract with the Western Australian Department of Corrective Services. The Department oversees the operations of Acacia through a variety of contract management mechanisms, including key performance indicators, on-site Monitoring Officers and regular audits and reviews. Contractual performance and compliance is actively assessed and an annual report is tabled in Parliament outlining the operations of Serco Australia and their level of contractual compliance.