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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 3 Hansard (18 March) . .

Page.. 816..


The people of Oaks Estate, in my understanding, want to feel valued and respected. Looking after their area, providing them with amenity and the services like other suburbs and other residents of Canberra receive would go some way towards assisting those residents of Oaks Estate to feel they are valued and respected members of the Canberra community.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (12.16): I begin by thanking Mr Doszpot for bringing this motion to the Assembly today and for raising the concerns the residents have raised directly with him. I have also had meetings with representatives from Neighbourhood Watch at Oaks Estate and they have raised concerns directly with me relating to my portfolio responsibilities of corrections. Mr Doszpot's motion is very much the words and the direct call of the residents, and he needs to be commended on bringing those concerns to the Assembly in the purest form he could, as the residents have conveyed them to him. It is disappointing that the government's amendment disregards some of the concerns the residents have raised, but it is encouraging to hear that ministers are finally taking the opportunity and listening to the concerns of residents from the often-forgotten corner of Canberra—Oaks Estate.

In relation to corrections, residents have raised with me a concern that ties in with the social housing that is concentrated in the estate—that is, the perception of a large number of parolees coming out of AMC and being housed in the facilities at Oaks Estate. I do not think the residents or anyone in the community has too severe a concern about that practice, but the issue arises as to how many individuals under these orders should go into one place before problems in areas start to be created. Yes, Oaks Estate is a small village of Canberra that seemingly has a higher concentration than the rest of the city of public and social housing. It is prudent that proper consideration be given to how many people on correctional orders should be put into a concentrated space that is relatively isolated from the main parts of the city.

We have heard today that public transport is an issue. For a lot of people coming out of jail, having their own form of transport is not normally available to them, and public transport is relied on heavily. We as a city and those members opposite as a government have a social responsibility to give these individuals the best chance and the best opportunities to succeed in their rehabilitation. Simply putting them into an area that isolates them and puts them amongst other individuals often struggling with similar mental illnesses and substance dependence issues ultimately is setting them up to fail.

Just this morning I spoke to representatives from St Vincent de Paul about the work they are continuing to do out there. They need to be commended at this point on the work they are doing. I understand that it is largely funded through an ACT Health initiative, but this is an area where a not-for-profit organisation is able to do a better job than government has in the past in helping to support members of the community. Not only that but they have taken control of a number of houses which were typically drug dens or had squatters in them and which have now been cleaned up and are used productively and effectively. Congratulations to St Vincent de Paul for their continued work in our community.


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