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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1354..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

parents wish to appeal against that decision, they can appeal to the Department of Urban Services, which will make a decision on whether such students are eligible.

Prison-funding

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the minister for corrective services. Minister, one glaringly obvious omission from the budget is funding for the ACT prison. You have said in recent days that you have only just received the consultants' report and you need time to read it before any decisions are made. Minister, you have stated publicly that the building of the prison will start this year. I presume that is this calendar year. However, the Treasurer has left little in the cash reserves and he has said that there will be no new borrowings. If the building is to start this year, where do you think the money is going to come from?

MR MOORE: Through you, Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. In one of the media releases we issued yesterday there was a clear explanation of that. At the end of media release No 24 "Rehabilitating offenders in the ACT" we stated with regard to the ACT prison project:

During 2000 the government decided a multi-faceted correction facility incorporating a men's prison, a women's prison and remand facilities would be established at Symonston.

I will come back to Symonston. The media release continues:

Work is progressing in regard to the operational ownership and management options, including the most beneficial financing structure for the complex. With crucial decisions yet to be finalised, financial details for the Symonston complex have not been included in the 2001-2002 capital works program. Once the necessary financial assessments and decisions are complete the project will either be included in the capital works program or, if privately owned and financed, included as an operating expense for the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

That is the background, Mr Hargreaves.

I am hoping to have that submission to cabinet by the end of this month. I want to say to you, Mr Hargreaves, that it is interesting you should raise this question because, on a number of occasions, it has been drawn to my attention that you have suggested that Majura would be a better alternative than Symonston. I suggest you go back and look at your report, as I have, because the committee actually eliminated the Majura site; it left the possibility of Kinlyside, as I recall, and Symonston. The committee that you were on eliminated the Majura site. It was eliminated for a number of reasons. One, of course, was that the expense of preparation of the site was significantly more than at Symonston-a comparison of over $1 million at Majura to a cost in the hundreds of thousands at Symonston. The main reason given was that the lights at Majura would cause a problem for the airport.

Mr Hargreaves, you had an opportunity, as part of that committee, to suggest whatever you like; to consult widely with the community-and I hope the committee did consult very widely with the community. That is what it was charged to do-to determine a site.


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