Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3943 ..
MR PARTON: Minister, what negative outcomes could occur from underfunding this critical oversight body?
MR GENTLEMAN: Madam Speaker, that is a hypothetical question. Of course, we have seen the work the Inspector of Correctional Services has done. He has done a very fulsome report most recently, and we will be responding to that. It is important work that the inspector does. If you look at past recommendations and reports from the inspector, we have responded to them very favourably and worked as hard as we could to address the recommendations.
Inspector of Correctional Services—resourcing
MRS KIKKERT: My question is to Minister for Corrections. Minister, the Healthy Prison Review 2022 contains no fewer than nine references where the inspector said his office did not have sufficient resources to fully investigate aspects of the prison. These include not having the resources to survey visitors to the prison, not having the resources to do an in-depth consideration of programs and interventions, not having the resources to review the experiences and accommodation of detainees under protection status and not having the resources to look into the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse detainees. This is clearly laid out in the review. This under-resourcing has been obvious for years, yet your government continues to insist that resourcing for oversight of the prison is adequate. Minister, if the inspector does not have the resources to examine the experiences of CALD detainees in depth, how can you say that prison oversight resourcing is adequate?
MR GENTLEMAN: We will be responding to the inspector’s Healthy Prisons Review. We will be responding fully to that. Of course, all of the recommendations and comments will be taken into account in further decisions that the government will make.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister, how can you say that resourcing for the oversight of the prison is adequate when the inspector does not have the resources to properly review the experiences of the most at-risk detainees in the AMC?
MR GENTLEMAN: I would just refer to my previous answer. We will of course take the recommendations and the comments from the inspector’s review into account. I will certainly be responding, through my portfolio, on the application of those recommendations to particular components of my portfolios and I am sure the government will be able to respond to the other claims for resourcing as well.
MR PARTON: Minister, how can you say that the oversight of the prison is adequate as the inspector contests your claims that the recommendations have been implemented in six and if the inspector does not have the resources to independently verify your claims?
MR GENTLEMAN: We will certainly look at the claims that the inspector has made and respond to them fully, as I have said. I think we have gone through the answers to Mrs Kikkert’s questions with regard to this. The government will be looking at the recommendations that the inspector has made and see whether there is further resourcing that can be made.