Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 30 June 2011) . . Page.. 2966 ..
have been longstanding issues which continue to have a claim on the attention of the committee, the government, and the community at large.
One of these matters concerns the court backlog. This has a long history in the ACT. If we look back at the paper trail, we can see that there have been a number of reports stretching back—to identify this problem, discuss its implications and suggest how to resolve it. It is true that some things have been done with a view to addressing it in the recent past. In the committee’s view, there is still a long way to go.
It is apparent that the case management system in the courts is old and urgently in need of replacement at this stage, rather than updating. This is addressed in recommendation 1.
Recommendation 2 arises from concerns the committee has had about the relationship between the executive and the Human Rights Commission. We were interested to find during hearings that the Human Rights Commission attracted the higher level of efficiency dividend because it was considered, from an administrative point of view, to be part of the justice and community safety department and therefore a large agency. This prompted thoughts about the nature of the relationship between the Human Rights Commission and the executive; this is discussed at greater length in the body of the report.
Recommendations 3 and 4 are to do with the evaluation of rehabilitation programs at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. It is clear that these programs are a central feature of the AMC programs and that rehabilitation is a central focus of its philosophy. For this reason, the committee is firmly of the view that these programs, whether they be about drug and alcohol recovery or vocational training and employment, should be subjected to well-conducted, ongoing evaluations. Through this process, we can get a sense of how the programs are working and in what ways they should be refined and developed to achieve the best possible outcomes. The AMC is the most expensive prison per prisoner in Australia; we should be making sure that we are getting value for money.
In some ways recommendation 5 is similar in nature to recommendations 3 and 4. In considering the performance indicators quoted by ACT Policing in their annual report for 2009-10, the committee was concerned at the lack of context for the indicators and results against these indicators. It makes it difficult to see how things are going. As it says in the report, the committee would like to see ACT Policing move to reporting on outcomes rather than outputs. Again, there are considerable sums of public money involved; the government should ensure that they are getting the best value for money and the money is well managed.
The annual reports processes, together with estimates, form the backbone of an ongoing scrutiny of government programs and administration on a year-by-year basis. The committee feels that these are both important processes which together play an important part in the accountability inherent in our system. I commend the report to the Assembly and thank my fellow committee members, and the attorney and his officers, for their cooperation in a process which is really quite extensive but is, as I say, important in keeping our system of government alive and on track. I commend the report to the Assembly.