Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 6 May 2010) . . Page.. 1855 ..
Justice Centre, what forms of staff training are required to reduce the incidence of force required to manage the behaviour of detainees. This will look at de-escalation, the use of force-type training, how strategies can be used to de-escalate situations and, as the recommendation says, reducing the incidence of force needing to be used to manage behaviour.
There was a question around the number of young people who had been strip-searched or restrained during the year. This question was taken on notice and the response which we received back from the minister noted that there had been 139 strip searches conducted during 2009 and there were 44 incidents of force being used on 24 young detainees. I hope that in the next report we will see a reduction in that and that the recommendation from the committee is considered in reducing the number of these incidents.
In the same portfolio we also looked at some family support programs which are offered and, in particular, the adolescent day unit. This is a targeted intervention program. The day unit supports young people aged between 12 and 15. The committee was interested in why there have been fewer children supported through this program—421 received support in 2008-09 compared to 536 in 2007-08. The minister responded by noting that, due to the complexity of work that they had seen an increase in, this had had an impact on the throughput of numbers in the program. The committee has recommended that the government review the resourcing to the targeted intervention program, particularly to the adolescent day unit, to ensure that the quality of service can be provided to all vulnerable students needing support.
The last issue I want to raise is in relation to the arts portfolio. This is an issue which came up during the estimates process. It was about the arts community having concerns about a conflict of interest for people who are on boards. There was some discussion around this. The committee has recommended that the ACT government report to the Legislative Assembly on the outcome of the review of arts organisation governance and the requirements that will be made regarding membership of the boards of arts organisations. There have been some concerns about this in the arts community and I think it is a matter that deserves consideration.
Once again, I would like to thank the committee secretary, Dr Sandra Lilburn. She has been very busy putting this report together, and obviously the previous report which I spoke to. She has done an excellent job in putting both of these reports together. I also thank my fellow committee members, the deputy chair, Jeremy Hanson—I should have noted before that you are the deputy chair—and Mary Porter. I thank them for their contributions to these inquiries.
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (11.13): I think the chair has covered most of the issues. The only one I will turn to in particular is that of class sizes. The government has said that it is aiming towards an average class size of 21. I think that further investigation is required to see exactly how the government is calculating those figures. There is a big difference between an average class size of 21 and a maximum class size of 21.
The difference is, I think, that there is a concern—and this was expressed by the union the other day—that the government are, in a sense, cooking the books to make the