Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 4 Hansard (6 April) . .
DR BOURKE: I thank Mr Wall for his question and his interest in both the youth justice system and, in particular, in Bimberi. Mr Wall is right to point out that the Bimberi facility has fewer detainees than it has had in the past, but it is worth remembering that there is always a potential for surge in these areas as we see new crimes or other problems develop in our community. At the end of the day, there is always going to be a need for a facility like Bimberi to be able to deal, as Bimberi does, with young people who need to go there. The community needs this facility, so there are, in fact, no plans to do anything with Bimberi at all.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Burch.
MS BURCH: Minister, can you tell the Assembly how young people leaving detention are supported back into the community under the blueprint for change?
DR BOURKE: The Bendora through-care unit is one important way that the blueprint is helping young people to build the living skills they need to stay safe, strong and connected to their community when they leave custody. The government has committed just over $2.4 million over four years for this initiative.
Since the unit opened in 2011, 21 sentenced young people have been supported to develop living skills like cooking and cleaning, and to gain confidence in employment skills through community work placements and participation in recreational activities. For example, a young man whom I will call Alex came into Bimberi aged 17 after being convicted for property and violence offences. He faced significant challenges in his family life and was using alcohol and cannabis frequently. He was involved with a group whose offending behaviour had a strong influence over him.
Time at Bimberi in the Bendora unit gave Alex the space he needed to get back on track with his education and to work on his drug and alcohol problems. With the help of the family engagement officer, Alex was supported to rebuild his relationship with his parents and strengthen his relationship with his sister. It is now more than a year since Alex left Bimberi. Alex has not reoffended. He is a more confident and independent young man who has used the skills he developed to start a trade and looks to building a bright future in our community.
This is because the blueprint has focused attention on prevention and diversion strategies as well as ensuring that young people who have come into contact with the youth justice system are supported to turn their lives around and achieve their potential.
Mr Barr: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo—Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Minister for Transport and Municipal Services and Assistant Minister for Health) (3.04): I relish the opportunity to talk to this motion today and I will be
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