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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2981..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

a proposal was on the table for a prison that could have gone ahead. It probably could have been built by now. We know the outcome of the election. That side used a bit of wedge politics with the residents of Red Hill and Narrabundah, and it worked. Congratulations. But it has led to a three-year delay in the delivery of the prison. No prison will be delivered in this term. I suspect we will not even have a confirmed site. I note the PA is out for public consultation, but I suspect we will not even have a confirmed site for the prison. We will be no further advanced after the first term of the Stanhope Labor government. That is its level of commitment to corrections reform in this territory.

We do not have to go any further than the government's own policy to show that they are hiding the embarrassment of the first corrections minister's lack of activity-yes, Mr Quinlan was the first corrections minister-on calls for the prison and nothing happened. Now, under the Chief Minister, almost as little is happening and what is happening is in a rush at the last moment. In the lead-up to the last election, the government promised-and I can quote this virtually off by heart-to put together programs that would lead to reform before it designed the prison. Once it designed the prison, it would select a site so that we could get it all right. There is another abandoned promise. In haste, in our desire to show that we have done something, we have picked a site on the map and said, "We will build it there."

The work has been done. It may be a reasonable site; it may not be. But it is a total abandonment of the government's election promise to develop programs and then design and select a site. What we have seen to date is also a total abandonment of its Corrections Reform Bill, which we are yet to see. However, we can all sleep well knowing that the Chief Minister is pleased that the US Supreme Court has now agreed with Jon Stanhope that these people should have different sorts of access to justice in America. One cannot get access to justice in the ACT, in that one cannot get the opportunity to be housed in an ACT prison, because in the first term of this government it simply has not done anything.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming, and Acting Minister for Planning) (11.31): We have turned over a new leaf and we no longer rewrite history, but let us make current or modern history complete. The opposition is aware of the difficulties that have dogged the access to sites for our prison, and they continue to the point where the government has gone to Sutton. The project will go ahead.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 1.18-Emergency Services, $44,813,000 (net cost of outputs), $21,436,000 (capital injection), totalling $66,249,000.

MR PRATT (11.33): I wish to talk about a number of issues, but also to congratulate the government for significant funding and a number of initiatives to upgrade the ACT's emergency management capability. I am pleased to see that the government has now decided to fast-track the outstanding communications equipment issue. I am pleased it has funded additional community fire units. It is pleasing to see that it is appropriating funding to enhance preventative strategies across the ACT and also that there are appropriations and plans to upgrade equipment, vehicles and other ancillary items.


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