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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 17 November 2005) . . Page.. 4302 ..


The new centre will be able to be built to address the current and future needs of residents and in particular will respond to the recommendations made in the human rights audit undertaken by the ACT human rights commissioner in June. This new detention centre will be the first centre in Australia designed and built against the requirements of the Human Rights Act, with input from the human rights commissioner.

In the meantime, we have had the transportables arrive in Canberra. They are currently being erected at the current location of Quamby and, hopefully by the end of the year, will provide 13 extra accommodation options available to staff in their placement decisions of young people. That work is almost near completion and at the same time we are full speed ahead in progressing the building of the new detention facility.

We will continue to consult with the community in the coming months as the new centre is designed and built. I note the conditional support from the opposition for the location at Mitchell. I think Mr Stefaniak’s comments were that they would prefer co-location with the prison but that at the end of the day Mitchell is acceptable. This is slightly at odds with the comments of Mr Seselja, who believed that Fyshwick, because it is away from people, would be the best location for the new centre. I am not entirely sure who is the opposition spokesperson on Quamby. The Smyth opposition says Mitchell is okay but it would prefer the prison site; the Mulcahy opposition would prefer the Fyshwick site. I am going to go with Mr Stefaniak on this one, who is slightly more moderate in his views and believes—

Mrs Dunne: What?

MS GALLAGHER: I know; it’s scary. Stefaniak and moderate are not two words usually used together, but on this one Mr Stefaniak has got it right. The location with adult criminals is his preferred way ahead but he will accept that Mitchell is okay.

The Mitchell site will prove in years to come to be a fantastic location for a youth detention facility—one that can encourage rehabilitation of young people and a new life once they have left their period in detention.

MS PORTER: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, since that announcement, what progress has been made on the next stage of the development of the new centre?

Mr Stefaniak: Very little.

MS GALLAGHER: There is an enormous amount of work going into progressing the work here. I can hear those opposite saying that nothing is being done. It is interesting to reflect on the reports that were done into the inadequacy of Quamby over a number of years, dating back to 1996, I think—certainly the late 1990s. Those opposite when in government did not one thing other than put a bit of razor wire on top of the perimeter fence; that is my understanding. After a few embarrassing escapes, a bit of razor wire went up to try to keep the young people in. In terms of dealing with the issues at the current Quamby location, those opposite spent years and years sitting on their hands and doing nothing.


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