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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3110 ..


by the communications centre. I acknowledge the comments of the attorney during estimates that this would be something he worked on over the next 12 months and that he would take proposals to budget cabinet next year. In particular, I note his comments that he will be looking at whether all front-line staff in the future will need to be trained in the highest level of intensive care paramedic and whether more front-line staff can be delivered. The Greens are concerned to ensure that the government keeps this work progressing during the next 12 months and does have a clear answer at the next budget.

In conclusion, the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Attorney-General face a number of challenges in the financial year ahead. For many of these, the problems are already known. We know that court waiting times are too long. We know that people are falling through the cracks in the legal system and going without legal assistance when they need it most. We know that community legal centres are turning away offers of pro bono assistance due to cramped office conditions. I could go on. We know that late night violence is a problem people are concerned about. The Greens think the best answers to these issues are still ahead of us, and we look forward to engaging with the government, with the opposition and with stakeholders, as we continue to grapple with the task of making Canberra safer and more just.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (3.43): I turn to two issues which fall in my portfolio areas within JACS; that is, corrections and policing. Turning firstly to corrections, $45 million a year is what we spend on corrections. That is on the back of the $130 million that we recently expended on the Alexander Maconochie Centre. I think most people in the ACT would question whether their taxpayer’s money that has been spent on corrections is getting us the service that our prisoners should be receiving, and that is to make sure that they are housed, that they are kept in a safe and secure environment and that their rehabilitation is being conducted in a productive way. Importantly, are we actually getting value for money out of that $45 million compared with the previous way that the money was spent in sending our prisoners to New South Wales?

Many of the problems that we have in corrections stem from Minister Simon Corbell’s mismanagement of the Alexander Maconochie Centre process. The new jail has been delivered well under scope. In fact, the figure in the original design was 452 beds. That was reduced to 375 and then reduced further to 300. It was opened after successive delays. But, unfortunately, it was then rushed and we saw the fake opening—the election-stunt opening on the eve of the 2008 election—and then we saw the rush to get it open as the embarrassment continued for the government, as the ongoing delays occurred after the election and there was the failure to bring prisoners into the prison.

All of those issues combined, which are entirely of this government’s making, have led to the fact that the community has lost confidence in this government’s ability to run the corrections portfolio, and the government has entirely lost credibility. So when things do go wrong—and from time to time of course they will in corrections, and I accept that fully—the problem is that, because they burnt their credibility and this minister has burnt his credibility so badly in the process of the Alexander Maconochie Centre development and the election-stunt opening, and because of the litany of problems, the litany of debacles that has occurred, and I will go through some, since


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