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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 February 2011) . . Page.. 206 ..


So what happened? What happened over the Christmas period was that the young people were locked up because they were bored. And why were they bored? Because inadequate programs were provided. As one guard told me, they have been spending a lot of time on the Xbox. When study resumed at Bimberi this year, only about half of the detainees went back to school. The other half could not go back because there had been so many fights there, detainee on detainee, that they were restricted to their cabins, where they spend more time on the Xbox and apparently watch a lot of movies as well. This is a recipe for disaster. This is why it deserves an inquiry under the Inquiries Act.

The problem is that you had a climate of building tension over Christmas. Add to this the next factor: when Bimberi was set up, they got the dieticians in to ask, “What is the appropriate diet for the people who will be here?” Apparently it is a diet that, oddly enough, has fruit and vegetables in it. But because the kids will not eat it, they get lots of cakes and biscuits. Not only do they get breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, we are now supplementing that with supper where they are fed more sugar. You have got a regime that does not care for these kids under the reign of this minister.

How did they get out? Well, they were locked away, and one of the young people kicked out the perspex screen over his TV. He pushed his TV aside and entered the utilities cupboard between two cabins. He then removed a piece of metal—I do not know, maybe that is the metal that was used to beat up the guard—moved the next TV, kicked out the next panel and released his compatriot. And guess where they were standing? They were standing in the utilities cupboard, which did not have a deadlock on it. So they opened the door and walked into the corridor where a guard, new to the facility, on his own, locked in, without support, was allegedly beaten by these people. That is the system this minister runs. That is why it deserves a full inquiry under the Inquiries Act.

Now, having got in and beaten up the guard—I understand it is on video and I understand it is not very pretty and I understand that people had to clean up the blood later—these individuals woke up the other 10 individuals, kicked the next door out and escaped into the compound and climbed on a roof. At the annual reports hearings on 9 November last year the minister said:

… I can add that we have fixed the roof problem.

That is how it is fixed. You can still get out; you can still get up on a roof. Where is the duty of care in this? This is a very serious issue. I could go on from what I have been told by one gentleman about morale, the turnover of staff, the amount of sick leave, people dodging shifts and new staff not wanting to go into the centre. It is incredible. It should be dealt with by a new inquiry, and this motion should be passed. (Time expired.)

Question put:

That Mr Corbell’s amendment be agreed to.


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