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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3722..


MR PRATT (continuing):

of the community, which libraries are. They are part of the lifeblood of a community. There was a heap of little kids on the steps dressed beautifully in all sorts of costumes representing some of the better-known Australian literary characters.

Estimations of how many people attended ranged between 500 and 1,000. I do not know exactly what the number was; it was probably halfway between that. My colleague Jacqui Burke was there. In fact, I forgot to announce her presence, for which I apologise. I spoke on behalf of Jacqui Burke as well. She is a Molonglo member and I am the shadow minister for urban services. Dr Foskey was there and, of course, Mr Hargreaves was there.

You have to give Mr Hargreaves his due: he was there doing a difficult job in trying to explain to a lot of very angry people why the decision had been taken to close their library. Of course, we adamantly reject the decision taken, but at least Mr Hargreaves was doing his best to explain why that was the case. It is a bit of a shame that the Canberra Sunday Times did not cover the event as well as it probably could have, because the event was quite a milestone in terms of a community demonstrating its concerns about infrastructure and those sorts of issues.

Mr Speaker, I congratulate those people on being well organised. As an organisation, they have only about nine or 10 days left, as the library will be closing on 1 December. John Hargreaves confirmed that decision on Saturday, sadly so. We will see where things go from there. We of the opposition commend the Griffith-Narrabundah Community Association and the library action group for working as hard as they possibly could to try to see the decision on that library closure reversed. Certainly the opposition will be revisiting this issue in the future.

Quamby Youth Detention Centre

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Disability and Community Services and Minister for Women) (5.05), in reply: Mr Speaker, I have only about 11/2 minutes to speak. Dr Foskey alleged in the debate earlier today on the Children and Young People Amendment Bill that she was aware of a young person having been kept in the cage at Quamby for nine days. I said at the time that I thought that that would be very unlikely; in fact, I ruled it out. I can confirm that that was not the case at all.

I do not know when she received her information, but I have had a look at the use of the Brindabella unit, which accommodates six people from time to time. It is also the unit where the safe room is located. Its outdoor area is what is commonly known as the cage. I have taken advice on that. I have also taken advice on the amount of time that the safe room has been in use over the last 161/2 months and it appears that it has been in use for six hours over the last 17 months, which gives you an indication of the fact that it is not being used. In fact, it has not been used, on my advice, since March this year.

I would urge Dr Foskey, if she is going to make those very alarming statements, and I think it is very alarming to allege that a young person had been kept in a cage for nine days, that she act on that information immediately and contact my office if she has concerns, rather than waiting to drop it in debate on a bill after she has obviously been in receipt of that information for some time. Those are very serious allegations. They are


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