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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3196 ..


The answer was:

The Department of Disability Housing and Community Services has advised me that the Billabong Aboriginal Corporation has informally canvassed ideas for enhanced service delivery at the site over a number of years.

I understand that the ideas put forward by the Billabong Corporation were subject to discussion with various officials at the time and were not supported.

That is a most unsatisfactory answer. It is quite clear you have got a group of individuals here who wish to be independent of the government. They wish to support their community. They wish to look after those most at need in the community, and they have been shunned by this government. It is a shame that this has been going on for so long, and I wish the minister would take his responsibilities more seriously.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.25): There are other areas of this portfolio that I think must be commented on in this budget debate. I think I should start with the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre. I note that in the closing days of the financial year we saw an extra bailout of the running costs of Bimberi through the Treasurer’s advance. Ms Hunter touched on this in her comments. She hoped that the extra money in this year’s budget for Bimberi might mean that we will see some of the very expensive facilities that were built at Bimberi actually being put to use for the young people who find themselves there.

It is interesting that over the time the Canberra Liberals have been looking at the issues in relation to Bimberi, when things get tough, as is always the case with a Labor minister, we have to find a good news spin story. When there was criticism of Bimberi, we had Ms Burch out there with some inmates and some fruit and vegetables, which is laudable. I congratulate the young people for the work that they do for OzHarvest but I did wonder about the appropriateness of exploiting underage detainees for the benefit of Ms Burch’s media spin.

There have been a number of assaults and security breaches, and action was only taken when the Canberra Liberals brought this to the forefront. There are some recommendations in the dissenting comments made by Mr Smyth and Mr Seselja about the need for the minister to come clean with this Assembly and, through this Assembly, the community about the steps that they are taking to ensure that there are not security breaches in the future.

There are issues in relation to staff shortages. Like Ms Hunter, I hope that the extra funding we see in this year will ensure that those staff shortages do not continue to put people at risk. I note that the question that Ms Burch quite famously committed over and over again to go away and get the detail on and to answer for the estimates committee remains unanswered. She has yet to answer the question in relation to the spitting incident that I have been told about. Ms Burch has provided an answer which is a non-answer. She committed to getting the details and coming back to the committee. She has failed to do that in the way that she has failed to do most things in her portfolio.


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