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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 3858..

MR SPEAKER: I do not think that will happen here.

Mr Stanhope: I beg your pardon, Mr Pratt.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, do you want to ask a question?

Alexander Maconochie Centre

MR PRATT: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, in a question on notice taken during estimates regarding the reduction of facilities in the ACT prison, you provided details of the facilities that were being cut from the project. You also said that $14 million would be saved through these cuts. In addition, the prison project will now officially blow its budget by $2.5 million. Attorney, why has your management of the prison project resulted in both a budget blow-out and cuts to the scope of the project?

MR CORBELL: I have noticed that Mr Pratt has a particular tendency, which is that the less he has to go with the bigger the story is.

Mr Hargreaves: And the bigger the headline.

MR CORBELL: The less he has to say the bigger the headline and the deeper the voice. I do not think that anyone could characterise a budget variation of around two per cent a budget blow-out. Indeed, it just makes me think that in the next media release I am going to see from Mr Pratt the headline is going to be on half the page and then there might be one paragraph of text about the actual story.

The answer to the question is quite simple. A variation of around two per cent is far from a budget blow-out. The real challenge is for those opposite to accept that that facility is going to open next year and that we are going to take responsibility for our own prisoners, people sentenced by our courts. What is going to be their approach to the management of an important facility designed to rehabilitate prisoners here in the ACT? Will we have serious and credible policies or will we simply have bigger headlines and deeper voices?

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Pratt?

MR PRATT: Let me say, in a normal voice—

MR SPEAKER: Just in a supplementary questioning voice will do.

MR PRATT: In my lilting voice: attorney, how does the ACT prison compare on a cost per bed basis with other facilities across Australia?

MR CORBELL: I think I answered that question during the appropriation bill hearings—and, indeed, the annual report hearings. If I have not, I am happy to take the question on notice.

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