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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5106..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

that this Stanhope government-and the next-brings to the governance of this town. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Corrections Reform Amendment Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 25 June 2003, on motion by Mr Smyth:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (3.36): In the government's view this bill is a piecemeal approach to law reform and is inconsistent with the policy of access to justice. The government is serious about addressing issues that make people vulnerable to involvement in the criminal justice system and mid last year initiated a complete review into sentencing. I reiterate the government's commitment to address the underlying causes of criminal behaviour and to examine existing law and programs with a view to improving their ability to deal effectively with offending behaviour.

An issues paper on sentencing was released last September by the review committee and has been followed up by an issues paper examining the use of restorative justice and victim offender conferencing in the territory. Submissions from the public and key stakeholders have been sought and received. Wide community consultation has taken place and continues to take place. The government has chosen to focus on whether existing sentencing law and programs can be improved to achieve outcomes from sentencing that deal effectively with offending behaviour, reflect legitimate community expectations, and address the causes of crime. The government is currently drafting a complete sentencing reform package. The reforms include a consolidation of sentencing legislation, the introduction of additional sentencing options, strengthening of breach procedures, and a general overhaul of current legislation.

Reforms proposed under the sentencing review include the consolidation of relevant legislation into two statutes, one dealing with sentencing principles and policy, the other dealing with the administration of sentences; improvements to breach procedures for all types of sentences; provision for greater flexibility in existing sentencing options available to maximise sentence effectiveness; introduction of new sentencing options, including a comprehensive review of restorative justice processes; improvement to provisions relating to victim impact statements; improvement to provisions relating to presentence reports; and improvement to provisions relating to parole orders. The introduction of non-association and place restriction orders, the combining of sentencing options on individual charges, and the extension of the Sentence Administration Board's functions to periodic and home detention orders have been recommended as part of the sentencing review. A reform package of legislation will be introduced into the Assembly early in the new year.

As I said, in the view of the government this bill is a piecemeal approach to law reform. It's inconsistent with the policy of access to justice, and I now touch on a number of elements in that regard. First, the bill refers to nine different pieces of legislation. There are 12 different acts and several more subordinate laws dealing with both sentencing and


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