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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 251 ..


MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (8.30): I move the following amendment to Mr Hanson’s motion:

Omit all words after “that this Assembly”, substitute:

“(1) notes:

(a) the importance of the ACT Government taking responsibility for the management and rehabilitation of citizens convicted of offences andsentenced to terms of imprisonment in the Territory;

(b) that the ACT Government has taken the following steps in accepting its responsibility and its obligations under Human Rights law:

(i) establishing the first prison in the Territory that is based on Human Rights principles;

(ii) providing funding of $25.1m for the direct operating budget of this facility for 2009-2010; and

(iii) establishing programs for prisoners incarcerated in the Alexander Maconochie Centre to assist in their rehabilitation, education and reintegration into the community;

(c) that the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety in Report 3, Inquiry into the delay in the commencement of operations at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, drew conclusions about the reasons for the delay in the commencement of operations of the AMC which were contrary to the findings of an independent expert appointed to determine the reasons for the delays; and

(d) that these delays were due to the failure of the builder and its security sub-contractor to complete the security system; and

(2) notes:

(a) that the total number of prisoners in the AMC as of today is 194; and

(b) that the ACT Government is committed to a review of key elements of the prison operations 12 months after the intake of all prisoners.”.

The Liberal Party have an appalling record of opportunism when it comes to the issue of the prison and it goes all the way back to when Mr Moore, who was the responsible minister for corrections in the previous Carnell Liberal government, strongly advocated the development of a prison for the ACT. Indeed, the last time there was a change of government in this place there was bipartisan agreement in this Assembly that there was a need to establish a prison for the territory.

Disappointingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the Liberal Party quickly reneged on that bipartisan position and for the last eight years have adopted the position of opposition to the establishment of a prison, despite the fact that in government they advocated the exact opposite.

We continue to see that opportunism, that rank political opportunism, in the commentary from the Liberal Party over the last few months on the establishment and now the operation of what is a positive facility for the ACT, a facility that makes us live up to our responsibilities to properly manage the care and custodianship of those people who are sentenced to terms of imprisonment in the territory and that we do so in a manner that provides the greatest opportunity for them to rehabilitate themselves, to stop their offending behaviour and to become productive members of our society.

I think it is worth reiterating the issues that the government has said are important in relation to this debate. Members of course will be aware that yesterday I tabled in the


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