Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 8 December 2010) . . Page.. 5951 ..
25 years and in the very next breath said that he was retrofitting a prison right now because it had capacity constraints. That is a question that he needs to address—not whether we should bring in prisoners from New South Wales.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you. The point of order is upheld, minister. We are not having a debate about general capacity policy. There is a specific—
Mr Hanson: When we thought it had capacity for 300.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, of course it should be highlighted in this debate about the capacity of the AMC, when it comes to the existing bedding configuration, that the opposition are on the record as demanding that over 100 beds be utilised for New South Wales prisoners.
MR SPEAKER: Minister, sit down, thank you. Mr Hanson, a supplementary question?
MR HANSON: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, were you misleading the estimates committee in 2007 when you claimed that this prison had capacity for 25 years under current bedding arrangements or were you misleading the Assembly yesterday?
MR CORBELL: Again, neither, Mr Speaker. I refer the member to my previous answers on this matter. There is a difference between the number of beds physically present in the facility and the number of beds that can be utilised at any particular point in time due to a range of operational reasons. It is as simple as that, Mr Speaker, and Mr Hanson clearly fails to understand that in the same way that he thought he could shunt 100 prisoners into AMC from New South Wales last year and in the same way, of course, that Mr Seselja criticised the government for having so much spare capacity which, indeed, he did criticise the government about again back in 2009.
So we have got the Liberal Party criticising the government for how it manages the facility but at the same time we have a Liberal Party that says there were too many beds in the prison and that it should be filled up with New South Wales inmates. Imagine the sort of result we would have if they had been running the facility, Mr Speaker. They have no credibility on this issue. They wanted to inject hundreds of New South Wales prisoners in. At the same time, they criticise the government for having too much spare capacity. Now they have the gall to criticise the government for managing the capacity in an appropriate and responsible way.
MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: Minister, are you aware of any other suggestions or proposals around the capacity of the AMC with respect to the next few years perhaps?
MR CORBELL: Indeed I am, and I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. Mr Hargreaves’s question allows me to outline in a bit more detail some alternative proposals that were put forward by Mr Hanson. Mr Hanson, of course, said, on 25 May 2009: