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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 4 Hansard (12 April) . .

Page.. 1384..


MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I refer Ms Lee to my answers to the previous questions that Mrs Kikkert asked, which I think were quite comprehensive. The summary of what she just said is exactly right. That is generally why young people are kept in their units for operational lockdowns: to cover those exact things that Ms Lee referred to.

MS LEE: Minister, how many times this year have operational lockdowns occurred at Bimberi because of insufficient staffing?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take the question on notice as to how many lockdowns have occurred this year. I would say in relation to the term "insufficient staffing" that there is a range of operational requirements within Bimberi. Like all workplaces, there are days when staff take unplanned leave, and Bimberi's operations need to work around that; there are also days when there are a larger number of young people than usual in Bimberi; and there are operational requirements around things like taking young people to court and taking them to other appointments outside of Bimberi. There are times when the behaviour of some young people requires a response that may require other young people to be locked in their units for a period of time. I will take on notice how many lockdowns there have been, but I will not take the premise of the question about insufficient staffing.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, will you correct the record to clarify that insufficient staffing did in fact result in Bimberi detainees being confined to their rooms in 2017?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I refer Mrs Kikkert again to the statement that I made in this place, a tabling statement on 31 October, that did acknowledge that the depletion of the casual pool, as a result of low numbers—it did not go into this level of detail, but—

Mrs Dunne: Just say yes.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I have already clarified in this place, on 31 October, that the low numbers of young people, the very low numbers of young people, in Bimberi in 2016—a fantastic reflection of the success of the blueprint on youth justice—have resulted in a depletion of the casual pool of staff at Bimberi. There was then an increase in the number of young people. One of the reasons that I commissioned the new task force to look into the next five years for the blueprint on youth justice was that increase in the number of young people in Bimberi.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr Gentleman: A point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. Resume your seat.

Mr Gentleman: I am having difficulty hearing the minister, as those opposite keep interjecting loudly.


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