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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3612..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

the Barton Highway, will you now be initiating a preliminary assessment of the proposal to move Caswell Drive, which opens up a whole new range of issues about the impacts on Black Mountain?

MR SMYTH: Following the process, it may trip a preliminary assessment. It may even trip an environmental impact assessment. As my press release says, we will do the required feasibility and engineering studies to see whether this route is achievable.

Correctional facility

MRS BURKE: My question is to Mr Moore. Minister, we are aware that the government-

Mr Stanhope: There is inconsistency here.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, it will take longer than you will be in this chamber if you keep interjecting.

MRS BURKE: My question is to Mr Moore. Minister, we are aware that the government is going through a thorough and proper process leading to the development of a new multipurpose correctional facility for the ACT. Can the minister confirm when the government plans to have this new correctional facility available? Can the minister advise the Assembly whether there is any threat to this timetable being achieved? Can the minister advise the Assembly of the impact on this project if there is any delay?

MR MOORE: What an excellent question. Thank you, Mrs Burke, for that very thoughtful question. The government hopes to build a new multipurpose correctional facility because we wish to move to a modern corrections system which rehabilitates offenders to being constructive members of the community. Not only is this about basic optimism in people's humanity but it is also about reducing crime which these people may otherwise go on to commit.

In addition to this, there is a desperate need to replace the Belconnen Remand Centre, which holds several dozen difficult persons remanded by courts pending their trials. The facility, I think most members recognise, needs urgent replacement. That will be part of the purpose of the multipurpose facility we plan.

The government aims to have the facility commissioned by 1 January 2004, a little over two years from now. Unfortunately, this ambition is seriously threatened by doublespeak we hear from those opposite. They say that they agree with this project, but they are getting into political exploitation which must inevitably defer it. It is time to expose what that contradiction looks like and what the facts are.

This government has adopted the recommendations of Mr Hargreaves and other MLAs who investigated a site on rural land in Symonston. On the many complex criteria for the project, the site appears to be satisfactory-indeed, from my perspective, the most satisfactory yet found. The project is advancing slowly through the complex planning and consultation process, a process which still has some way to go.


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