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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 320..


MS TUCKER (11.07): I will be supporting Mr Hargreaves' amendment. This matter could have been handled by the Public Accounts Committee. However, I understand the process that is occurring and I think it is quite appropriate that either Roslyn Dundas or I should be able to nominate for a position on the committee. We will work together on keeping in touch with what is going on. Clearly, if we have a different view then that would be expressed in the Assembly and whoever of us is on this committee would take on that role. So I think this is a reasonable response.

Mr Hargreaves' amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Rehabilitation of Offenders (Interim) Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Quinlan, by leave, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (11.08): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, in August of 2001 the Assembly passed the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Interim) Act 2001. This act made a number of changes to the administration of parole in the ACT. Amongst other things, it established the Sentence Administration Board to administer the ACT's parole system and empowered the board to issue warrants to commit a person to imprisonment upon revocation of that person's parole.

In addition, the act intended to allow the Sentence Administration Board to issue warrants under the Removal of Prisoners Act 1968 to provide for the removal of ACT prisoners to New South Wales for detention, and for the return of those prisoners to the ACT.

In order to do this it was necessary to amend the definition of "authorised person" in the Removal of Prisoners Act. However, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act mistakenly referred to "authorised officer" instead of "authorised person" and therefore, strictly speaking, did not have the desired effect. This was only discovered in January of this year.

In the interim, a number of warrants have been issued by the board under the Removal of Prisoners Act. This incorrect definition meant that although the people affected by these warrants were rightfully imprisoned, their removal to and detention in New South Wales may not have been provided for.

Since discovering the problem, the government has worked in an accountable and prompt manner to remove any doubt as to the validity of the warrants in question. New warrants for the removal and detention of the prisoners concerned were issued in January, validating the prisoners' detention from that date onwards.


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