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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2347 ..

delivered that project within the budget we said we would deliver it within and it is a leading facility. It will be a benchmark facility in corrective services and it will, for the first time, give us the capacity to deal with our community’s own sentenced prisoners and give them the best opportunity at rehabilitation and a fresh start in life after they have served their sentence. That is an obligation that any community must take very seriously.

Those opposite flip-flopped on the issue: when they were in government they supported a prison; in opposition they did not support a prison. Now they support the prison again. Unlike the opposition, we have remained consistent in our approach, saying there was a need for us to take responsibility for our own prisoners, there was a need for us to accept that there is a moral obligation on a community that is going to sentence people to incarceration against their will to take proper responsibility for the care and custody of those people—and that is what this government has been prepared to do.

I am very proud of the work corrective services are doing in relation to the establishment of the AMC. The small project team there—and it is a small project team; no bloated bureaucracy here—is doing an excellent job. The staffing of the AMC is also moving ahead at a very timely and professional rate. I note Dr Foskey’s comments about staffing and I can assure her, as I have assured other members, that the overwhelming majority of recruits that are coming in as a result of the expansion of corrective services to staff the AMC are not people who have had previous experience in corrections. That is a healthy thing because they do not bring the preconceptions and the experiences of other facilities.

That said, we should not demean the experience of those who have worked in corrective services and who are choosing to come and work here in Canberra, because many of them are choosing to come and work in Canberra because they see the opportunity to make a difference. They know that too many prisons around the country are simply prisons where everyone is ground down to the lowest common denominator; they are brutal, harsh places and they are not places that serve the community well in the long run. Many of our staff who are coming from other facilities are coming to the AMC because they see it as a fresh start, a new opportunity and a chance to make a difference, and I welcome them as much as I welcome those staff who are joining corrective services for the first time in that profession.

This is a strong budget for justice and community safety. It makes significant investments to tackle the causes of crime and to improve community safety, community awareness and the administration of justice, and I commend it to the Assembly.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—part 1.16—Department of Education and Training—$436,384,000 (net cost of outputs), $140,307,000 (capital injection), $185,031,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $761,722,000

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