Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2011) . . Page.. 1301 ..
the election campaign when Mr Smyth delivered his statement. My memory of it is vivid, because it was in fact delivered at the Tuggeranong college. He said, “We will take the $100 million from the prison, we will continue with the Goulburn experience and we will put it into nurses at the hospital.”
Ms Hunter does indeed remember him saying that and that he was picked up by one of the students, if my memory serves me correctly, saying, “How is that so if it is in fact for the building of a prison?” I used the words “capital funding”. They used different ones. You cannot apply capital funding to a recurrent problem like an increased number of nurses. That showed, in my view, a misunderstanding of the nature of the funding that we have. But it showed what the attitude of those opposite was. It showed their attitude was to leave these people in Goulburn jail and other jails in New South Wales.
What happened was that we now have got our facility. This government decided that it was the appropriate thing to do. When the now Senator Humphries put the provision in the budget, I think it was in about 1999 or 2000, about there somewhere, he actually put $32 million in there. It is an interesting figure, because everything that those opposite did in capital works had a tag of $32 million. It was an off-budget line item. He wanted it paid for by the private sector. He wanted to have a private jail. And we said: “No, we do not want to do that. It will be publicly owned and publicly run, because the community will accept responsibility for its own people.” And we brought them home.
These guys over here can complain, they can nitpick and cherry-pick all of these things out of this report they like but there is one fundamental truth that they cannot avoid. It was this government who brought our people home. It was this government who set up a facility which would give them a half-decent chance of a decent life. They had none in Goulburn. All they did was go to the university of criminology in Goulburn. They came out hardened and sometimes better at it.
Mr Coe: There is no gym or counselling service or educational facility.
MR HARGREAVES: In fact, Mr Coe complains bitterly because there is no gym, no this, no that. Let me tell you, though, the facility is there. It is an evolving one and it is one which will emerge and be refined over time. What these guys over here are saying is: “We did not want it here in the very first place. But now we have got it, we want it to be perfect from day one.” That is quite an unreasonable position to be taking. The commissioning of this report was a courageous thing to do. To actually put it out there and let these people go through it and trawl through it and—
Mr Hanson: It was courageous from us, then. Thank you, John.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, please be quiet.
MR HARGREAVES: I can tell you, having been here while it was conceived, built and delivered, those people over there have no credibility in this subject at all—none whatsoever. They made it difficult for the government from day one. There was an invitation put out by me, when I was the minister, to have a tripartisan approach to