Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 March 2011) . . Page.. 941 ..
locked up for up to 18 hours per day due to staff shortages. Minister, is this true? Were children locked up for up to 18 hours per day due to staff shortages?
MS BURCH: I thank Mr Coe for his questions. The advice that I have had this morning in response to the article was that there have been no lockdowns this year at all. Lockdowns are a way of securing a young person in their room for a number of reasons. It could be because of their challenging behaviours or being at risk. At times, lockdowns are for operational reasons and they are implemented as a strategy of last resort. But a lockdown of 18 hours is nothing that I have been aware of. Certainly, I have asked and any evidence coming to me does not indicate that is the fact.
Mr Coe interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, now you can ask your supplementary question.
MR COE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, I will. Minister, is locking up a 12 year old for up to 18 hours a day an appropriate response to managing children at risk?
MS BURCH: As I have indicated, there is no information to me that has indicated that there has been lockdown of 18 hours. That is an extraordinary length of time. Lockdowns are used for a number of reasons. They are used sometimes at an operational level. I know last year at a number of lunch times there was lockdown when there was a staff shortage. That was deemed the appropriate thing to do in those circumstances.
There are also lockdowns around managing behaviours of individuals and of the premise. Those decisions are made on-site by management. They are made with the best interests of the young people in mind and with the security and safety of the facility in mind.
MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, in your answer to the previous question you said that there were no lockdowns of that duration this year. Were there any lockdowns of that duration last year?
MS BURCH: I think I have indicated in my earlier answer that is my information, that an 18 hours lockdown has not occurred.
MR HANSON: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, what have you done to assure yourself that the advice you have received from your department in this case is correct?