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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 3 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1059..


The government treat these issues seriously but we also believe it is important to stand by our statutory officers and the work that they do. They are independent statutory officers acting in good faith to perform their functions under the act that establishes their office. The commissioner has not acted in a manner which has compromised his inquiry or compromised the information given to him by his complainant. The government reaffirms its complete confidence in Mr Roy to conduct this inquiry. He has all the powers and all the resources he needs to do this work, and we believe we should allow that process to run its course.

Bimberi Youth Justice Centre—lockdowns

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, what is the government's policy on the amount of time juvenile detainees should remain in their rooms each day at Bimberi, and do those policies vary according to the age of the detainee? What is the maximum number of hours on any one occasion that Bimberi residents have spent in lockdown since the opening of Bimberi?

MS BURCH: On the question of lockdown, as I mentioned yesterday, there has been no lockdown for this year. It is my understanding that young residents there sometimes used lockdown, are put in isolation in their rooms as a matter of risk management. There are sometimes operational prompts to do that. It is for poor management and noncompliance. They are short periods, usually 30 to 60 minutes. I think I went to this yesterday. When we were experiencing some staff shortages to cover staff lunch, young children were put into lockdown, for want of a better word—I am sure we should find a better word for it, but "lockdown"will do—and programs continued but not all children had access to programs over all those full hours.

You asked the question about what is the longest lockdown. It is my understanding that the longest lockdown was in January of 2010, when there was a breach in process, and I think you would understand and appreciate the need for that. Young people are secured in their cabins about 7.30 and released in the morning of that day. In March of last year a female resident was secured from about 12.30 until about 3.30, and again I think this was around a behavioural or management matter, and then resecured at about 4.30 for a release at about seven. So these are not long, but they are a management tool of Bimberi for a range of reasons, for risk management but also sometimes operational. They are not ideal; they are used as a last resort, and I think that is as it should be, as a last resort.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe?

MR COE: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, since Bimberi opened on how many occasions have Bimberi detainees spent more time in their rooms on any one day than the government's policy provides and have there been occasions when that situation has extended over multiple days?

MS BURCH: That level of detail I will have to come back with but, as I have indicated, there has been no lockdown this year. I have some information about a


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