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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 416..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

manage future crises. The service has been directly funded by the ACT government, by around $730,000 a year, as well as receiving additional clinical support from Mental Health ACT worth over $100,000. Centacare will operate the facility on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis and Mental Health ACT is providing a 40-hour per week clinical presence in the facility.

We have been committed to new and innovative models of care, and this is the latest example of the ACT leading the nation in mental health reform. In the meantime, we continue to develop the adult step-up, step-down facility for the community. Last year, we opened the older persons in-patient unit at Calvary Hospital. Already, planning is well underway for the new 40-bed adult mental health acute in-patient unit at the Canberra Hospital, with forward design of $2.29 million. And there is the design of a new 15-bed secure mental health in-patient unit on the Canberra Hospital site, also funded for forward design work.

So there is a great deal of work underway in terms of preparing our city for the mental health needs of the future. It includes a range of options—community-based settings; step-up, step-down facilities; and, importantly, constructing and completing the new adult mental health acute in-patient unit and the mental health precinct at the Canberra Hospital.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—perimeter fence

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, you have constructed a custom-designed perimeter fence at the Alexander Maconochie Centre so as, I understand, to avoid using razor wire. This custom-designed fence I have been told is costing the ACT taxpayers some $15 million.

Mrs Dunne: $15 million—a $15 million fence?

MR STEFANIAK: That is what I was told. Attorney, did you obtain designs and costings for more conventional prison perimeter fences and, if so, what did those designs involve and what were the costs?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Stefaniak for the question. I do not have the details of the various costings involved for the design of that fence or indeed any alternative fences and I will need to take that question on notice, as I am sure Mr Stefaniak would understand. I can, however, advise Mr Stefaniak and the Assembly that the product used for the fencing at the Alexander Maconochie Centre is not a one-off design. It is a proprietary product of a particular firm, is used in a range of settings and is not designed specifically for the Alexander Maconochie Centre; it is a product available on the market and it was the product chosen by the designers of the facility, for the very reason that it provides the requisite level of security for the prison without the downsides associated with the more traditional use of razor wire.

There is a range of issues associated with razor wire. The first of course is that razor wire presents a particular image of the facility which is not conducive to a rehabilitative environment, and that is a significant consideration. There are also some practical considerations. For example, it is well known amongst other correctional


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