Closing Panel: Driving Change to Reduce the Cycle of Crime

Joe Graffam

Deakin University

Professor Joe Graffam is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at Deakin University leading a portfolio that includes responsibility for:

• Deakin Research
• Deakin Research Innovations
• Institute for Frontier Materials
• Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research provides academic leadership to advance Deakin’s distinctive research and research training both nationally and internationally. This includes research development, industry-focused research and commercialisation and research promotion.

Prior to his appointment in 2018, Professor Joe Graffam was Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Performance Enhancement at Deakin University. Prior to that he was Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Development and Training and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic). Joe is also Professor and Chair in Psychology. He has worked in higher education for more than 30 years. Joe held early career positions as a researcher in the Neuropsychiatric Institute, School of Medicine, UCLA. Since commencing with Deakin University, Joe has filled several senior academic positions within the Faculty of Health. More recently, he served as Chair of the Academic Board of the University. He has received two Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellent Contribution: Research – Research Facilitation (2004); and People, Culture and Change (2009). He has served on numerous University committees and working groups and has been a member of the Academic Board since 2005. Joe’s research has focused on the development and application of an ecological model for the study of community integration of people with a disability and, since 2000, also in the reintegration of ex-prisoners. He has an international reputation in both of these areas.

Qualifications and affiliations:


Priscilla Atkins


Priscilla Atkins is Eastern Arrernte from Central Australia and mother of 6 children.

Priscilla is the CEO of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency which is the largest legal services in the Northern Territory providing high-quality and culturally appropriate legal aid services for Indigenous people in the Top End. She is fully engaged in pursuing the rights of Indigenous people through law and policy reform.

As the previous Deputy Chairperson of National ATSILS, Cilla aims to work towards gaining justice for Indigenous people and keeping their culture, tradition and law strong

Cilla won Northern Territory Businesswoman of the year for the 2011 community and government sector.

Cilla was featured in a book in 2014 called “The Climb” written by Geraldine Doogue on the 14 top women leaders in Australia.

She holds a Master of Arts in Producing and is included in the 2008-2015 edition of Who’s Who of Australian Women. In 2017 Cilla was a state finalist for the Australian leader & Excellence Award.

Previously Cilla was the CEO of the CAAMA Group, the largest Indigenous owned and operated multimedia organisation in Australia. She managed the commercial enterprises of the CAAMA Group through Radio Broadcasting, Remote Indigenous Broadcasting, Independent Music Label, Film and Television Production Company, Shops and Television Broadcasting.

Cilla actively promoted Indigenous culture, language, dance and music worldwide.

Cilla worked with the Australian Indigenous Communications Association in establishing the National Indigenous Television Service.

She was also the Executive Producer and Creator of the first Indigenous children’s television series called Double Trouble produced for a commercial network, Channel 9, and Disney. “Double Trouble” was nominated for an AFI in 2008 for “Best Children’s Drama”.

Cilla was previously on the NT Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council and was a Board Director on Indigenous Business Australia, Chairperson of the Indigenous Australian Indigenous Communications Association, Board Director of Imparja Television, National Indigenous Television Service and Indigenous Screen Australia.

Fiona Patten

Legislative Council, Victorian Parliament
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region

Fiona Patten is a Member for Northern Metropolitan Region in the Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Council.
Leader of the Reason Party, Fiona was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.

Since being elected in 2014, Fiona has garnered respect from all sides of the political divide and has worked tirelessly to deliver legislative reforms that many thought impossible.

Her achievements include creating abortion clinic safe access zones, initiating Australia’s largest public inquiry into drug law reform, online e-petitions to Parliament, legalising Uber, securing a trial for Victoria’s first medically supervised injecting centre, initiating the Parliamentary Inquiry that led to Voluntary Assisted Dying laws.

As ABC 774’s Jon Faine says: “She is, without doubt, Australia’s most effective legislator.”

Fiona is now working towards improving Victoria even further, and is pushing to legalise and regulate cannabis for adult use, continuing to implement electoral reform, religious accountability and greater separation of church and state, legalise sex work, and spent convictions legislation.

Fiona’s decision to run for political office came after 20 years of advocating for the rights of small business owners, sexual health organisations, sexual freedoms and censorship reforms.

When Fiona isn’t in Parliament – you will find her in a swimming pool or at a restaurant.

Rob Steer

NT Corrections
Director Custodial Operations

Rob is currently responsible for all adult correctional services in the Northern Territory Australia.

Rob has developed a range of innovative approaches to assist in reducing reoffending rates amongst indigenous prisoners, including the Sentenced to a Job program, the development of prison industry programs, and significant education partnerships with Industry associations and education providers.

Whilst in the NT Rob has been responsible for offender rehabilitation, offender management and adult custodial functions.

Rob brings a unique blend of Corrections expertise gained from both Public and Private Corrections Providers, across 4 jurisdictions, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, and the Northern Territory, in a variety of institutional, regional and Head office locations.

Rob has extensive operational experience working in maximum, medium and minimum security prison environments, youth operations, courts, community corrections, prison industries and the manufacturing sector. Rob also has a strong background in business development, having worked across a number of sectors.

Rob is currently the President of the Correctional Industries Association of Australasia.

Despite emerging evidence of the need for a whole of community response to break the cycle of crime and imprisonment, corrections systems continue to channel much of their budget to building and running prisons. This panel will discuss strategies that community members, advocates and service providers can utilise to bring about policy and practice change to enable people leaving prison to obtain the supports they need to successfully reintegrate into the community.