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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3863..


Symonston-temporary remand centre

MR SMYTH (5.40): Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Assembly notes:

(1) that all remandees of ACT Corrections are classified as 'maximum security'

(2) that the Minister for Corrections undertook, during Estimates Committee hearings on 26 July 2002, to issue a protocol as to which remandees would be housed at the Temporary Remand Centre at Symonston;

(3) that the temporary Remand Centre is now open; and

(4) no protocol has, at this time, been issued;

and calls on the Minister to table the protocol by close of business Wednesday 20 November 2002.

This is a very simple motion. It simply notes that all remandees under the care of ACT Corrective Services are classified as "maximum security". We asked the minister some questions at an Estimates Committee hearing and he said that a protocol would be made to govern which remandees would be moved from BRC to the facility at Symonston. That facility is now open.

Recommendation 41 of the Estimates Committee notes:

The Committee recommends that the Government table in the ACT Legislative Assembly, as soon as possible, the guidelines for determining which remandees will be housed in the temporary Symonston facility.

I am simply noting that no protocol has at this time been tabled here in the Assembly and I call on the minister to do so.

There is some discussion about who will go to Symonston. We have maintained consistently in the discussions that have ensued since the Estimates Committee meeting that all remandees are "maximum security", and I think everybody acknowledges that. The minister says that only low-risk people will be going there. I simply want to see the protocol that he has now made so that we can all be assured that it is appropriate.

MS DUNDAS (5.42): Mr Speaker, I would like to add to the debate. I am glad that a new remand centre has finally opened because, as became clear during estimates, we did not previously have sufficient accommodation for all of our periodic detainees. This made a mockery of sentencing. However, it appears-and I say "appears"-that the government has failed to properly plan for the opening of the centre, as the necessary support systems and policies do not appear to be in place.

I think we already have a reasonable idea of how the allocation of remandees between the Belconnen and Symonston remand centres is to be determined. Mr Ryan, the Director of ACT Corrective Services, indicated during estimates that when the Belconnen Remand Centre reached its limit of 55, the lowest risk prisoners would be transferred to the Symonston facility; and risk would be assessed according to the type of offence-principally classification into traffic and non-traffic offences, and whether there was any history of an attempt to escape.


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