Page 1238 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022

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Madam Speaker, the first half of 2021-22 has been largely reflective of the results we saw for operational indicators in the first half of 2020-21. There were no category one incidents in the first half of 2021-22 and there were 57 category two incidents. This is consistent with the same period in the previous year. The number of assaults by young people against staff and other young people decreased slightly over the same period, down from 10 assaults in the first half of 2020-21 to seven assaults in the first half of 2021-22. There was a small increase in the number of operational lockdowns at Bimberi compared to the same period in 2020-21, up from nine lockdowns to 14. This is still significantly lower than in previous years.

The team at Bimberi have been working hard over the past two years to keep young people in their care safe and minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the centre and its operations. To protect the young people in custody from COVID-19, induction processes have been updated to keep new young people entering the centre away from existing residents. All young people entering Bimberi are being placed on health segregation while precautionary COVID-19 testing can be carried out by justice health services. This has led to a significant increase in health segregations compared to the same period in the previous year. The 28 segregation directions made to the end of December 2021 were all health segregations and were all in response to COVID-19 testing requirements.

As I have said previously, a key component of a young person’s rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community is their engagement in education, training, recreation and rehabilitation programs. All young people at Bimberi, once past their health segregation, participate in programs delivered by the Murrumbidgee school, Bimberi staff or external agencies. During the first half of the 2021-22 financial year, 100 per cent of young people residing at Bimberi engaged in educational programs.

I had the pleasure of attending the Murrumbidgee school end-of-year assembly in December. It was wonderful to watch the joy in the young people as they accepted their certificates and awards for their educational achievements. From music, art and barista training to the attainment of year 10 modules and one young person successfully completing their year 12 certificate, the success of every young person was celebrated.

For any young person to have successfully completed their education course during everything we experienced in 2021 is an achievement that we all celebrate. For a young person to be able to do this while also working through the challenges that come with being in detention and other wellbeing challenges is something for each one of those young people to be proud of. This has been possible with the support of youth workers and educators who support young people to develop skills in areas where they have interests and talents. It is also a credit to each of those young people whose determination, creativity and curiosity has helped them progress their studies.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has impacted Bimberi. For the young people this has meant a change in the way they interact with their families, friends and program and service providers. Restrictions have meant that fewer programs have been provided at Bimberi by external agencies and fewer families and professionals have been able to

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