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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 4303..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

This government has prioritised this project as one that needs to be undertaken. It needs to be undertaken quickly and the project is moving ahead. Brown Consulting has been appointed to do the preliminary assessment of the site. Further consultation is to be undertaken as part of this process and is expected to commence prior to Christmas. This is in addition to the six-week consultation period required by the land act.

I have to say, and I should have said this at the beginning of my first answer, one of the responses that the government was mindful of when considering the Mitchell site was the welcome given by the Gungahlin community to the Mitchell site, and, hopefully, to these young people when they move there in 2008. I have looked at the history of building detention centres in residential areas and it is not a common occurrence to have a community residents group say, "Yes, please, come and build your centre here."Mr Stefaniak and I were at a meeting last week when I had the opportunity to thank the community council for their unusual approach in welcoming a facility of this nature in their community.

The preliminary assessment is expected to be completed by April 2006. Reference groups have been formed with key stakeholders, who will play an important role in developing the design for the new youth detention centre. The reference groups will meet over the next two months to examine all the issues relating to detention and rehabilitation and, of course, the design of the centre. The project is currently on schedule to meet the timetable we have set, which is completion by 2008.

We are moving along with this project. We have a lot of work to do, but we are working with the community to make sure that the facility that is built lasts a lot longer than the current Quamby and that it is the best facility that we can build at this time to ensure that our young people who need to spend time there have all the support that they need to enable their successful reintegration into the community.

Griffin Centre-food distribution program

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the minister for community services. It concerns the Griffin Centre. As the minister would be aware, Red Cross Roadhouse and others run an invaluable daily free food program from the Griffin Centre. During the design phase for the new centre, tenants and the centre's managing board argued that if there was only one meeting hall with street access and kitchen facilities, it would inevitably be used by the food program, making it impossible for community groups to run other community events in the early evening and eliminating much of the centre's income earning capacity. Now that the new centre is operating, that does appear to be the result. How will the department address this shortage of space, this loss of income and conflict of use?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Dr Foskey for the question. I am aware that, in the context of the move from the old Griffin Centre to the new one, a number of problems emerged that required some attention. The matter that Dr Foskey raises about the distribution of food to the needy is, in fact, very seriously one of them. I understood that there were conversations being held between the management committee of the Griffin Centre and the department to try to find a resolution.


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