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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3719..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

period to answer an allegation of breach or to deal with an application for cancellation in the case of home detention and periodic detention orders.

A failure to attend in accordance with a notice constitutes grounds for the immediate issue of a warrant for arrest. This will allow for early intervention when it appears that offenders, for whatever reason, are having difficulty complying with the terms of a court order. It also sends a strong message to those who believe they can breach court orders without consequences. Immediate consequences will follow for failing to meet obligations in a court order. For example, under the old regime an offender who failed an alcohol test when reporting for periodic detention would simply be sent home with a cross marked against his or her name.

No formal action would generally be taken until three strikes were made and at that time proceedings to cancel the order would be commenced. Under the new system, when offenders fail an alcohol test they can be asked immediately to sign an agreement to attend before the board to explain themselves. The board will then be in a position to inquire why the offending conduct occurred and whether anything could be done to best assist the offender to comply with and complete the order. A number of chapters in the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Bill relate to matters that have application in any future prison built in the ACT.

Matters such as detention in correction centres generally, case management and security classification, separate custody of detainees, correctional centre discipline, searching and testing of detainees and leave permits are all addressed. These provisions have equal, although sometimes modified, application in remand centres, temporary remand centres and periodic detention centres. Inclusion of these provisions now will ensure consistency when a new correctional centre is built in the ACT. The sentencing reform package, an innovative and exciting undertaking, is the most substantial review and rewrite of sentencing laws that the territory has ever seen.

The package maximises sentencing effectiveness and removes anomalies and inconsistencies in the current legislation. It replaces a patchwork of laws that has developed in a piecemeal manner with a coherent sentencing regime, giving clear guidance to the courts, offenders and the community. These bills are significant. Matters relating to sentencing involve complex issues and a number of competing interests that need to be balanced. This is important community legislation and, for this reason, it is highly desirable for the public and key stakeholders in the community to be given the opportunity to comment on these proposals before the bills are finalised for introduction.

A number of significant complex human rights issues relating to sentencing must be considered. Release of the bills as exposure drafts creates a unique opportunity for a detailed and full consideration of these issues and allows us to draw on the broad expertise of practitioners who specialise in these areas to ensure that these rights are properly considered and balanced. For those reasons it is with pleasure that I table these bills as exposure drafts.


Mr Quinlan presented the following papers:

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