Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2267..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
The Committee recommends that the Government ensure the new ACT prison has a visiting centre designed to accommodate the needs of child visitors including access to toilet facilities in the visiting room.
The report goes on to recommendation 21, which talks about the design of the prison-to have adequate shelter outside the prison and a sufficiently large reception area. Recommendations 27 and 28 talk about future regulations for the correctional facilities and the way in which they are run. They run onto a number of other recommendations about setting the attitude so that people are therefore reformed.
You are put in prison as a punishment. You are not to be punished in prison; you are there to be reformed. There are a number of strong recommendations that truly look at how that happens. I say, "Well done!"to the committee, because it is quite clear that the government does not intend to do this work. The government, in Labor's ACTION Plan for ACT Corrections, said the following:
Labor believes that work must be concluded on prison programs before we decide on the prison design and we must decide on design before we decide on the site.
It would seem that the government has broken that commitment-not only broken it; they have got it totally arse about-because they certainly did not do any of the work they promised they would do. We seem to have had a site selected willy-nilly. We are now seemingly fitting a prison to that site, and we have no word from the government whatsoever on what work they have done on designing programs.
This committee report certainly fills a vacuum that the minister for corrections has left in this place. It is also about the law, the regulations, that will govern-this is noted in a couple of the recommendations-the way the prison is run. How we achieve reform is very important-and again we wait for the government. I want to read something from a debate on 10 December last year when the Chief Minister was going on about my bill. He says:
It's the view of the government that if Mr Smyth wishes to pursue some of the initiatives or ideas that he's pursuing through this bill, it would be much better done when the government introduces its major, modern new sentencing legislation. As I say, this will be done in a couple of months time...
Just remember that this was a debate in December last year.
MR SPEAKER: Order! A moment ago I heard you use the words "arse about". That is unparliamentary. Would you withdraw that?
MR SMYTH: I am sorry, Mr Speaker. I did not realise I said that. I withdraw it-my apologies! The Chief Minister said, "As I say, this will done in a couple of months time."That was in December. A couple of months is normally two months, which would make it January or February, or maybe March-and here we are in June. I see from the program that was released after the cabinet meeting that there are no corrections reform bills that the government will bring forward, apparently, in this sitting. I am not sure when this Assembly will get the chance to look at the government's bill. It is a shame