Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 August 2011) . . Page.. 3231 ..
On the matter of the use of restraints, yes I do get monthly reports and I get ad hoc reports as issues arise. Through that report there were a number of items that raised my concern which I have had discussions with the department about. But following the delivery of this report I have spoken to the department and we have already started to review our use of force and restraints internally.
There are a number of recommendations there that look at new contemporary evidence, which is fair and reasonable for us to consider. So without pre-empting our full response to the whole report, this is one matter that I have asked the department to review its current practice on with a view to making improvements. It is my view that restraints and use of force should be used absolutely as a last resort and that other methods should be implemented and certainly put to the fore. If that includes amendments to practices and training for staff, then I will not hesitate.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary.
MS HUNTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what urgent action have you taken to respond to the commissioner’s recommendations for better recording of use of force and segregation?
MS BURCH: Through the report, there are a number of commentaries about data collection and record keeping. This is something that, in any department and facility, is an ongoing matter that needs to be paid attention to, so that we make sure that that recording and reporting are done appropriately. Again, that is one of those immediate discussions that does not need to wait for the government’s full response to the report. I have asked the department to review it and ensure that the practices are indeed appropriate and that recording is maintained.
MS BRESNAN: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.
MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, following the publication of the Bimberi report, have you directed your department to stop using the terms “special management direction” as a reason for or record of restraint?
MS BURCH: The conversations with the department have not gone down to that level of detail. Suffice to say that I have asked the department to review its use of force and restraints and to ensure that our practice is contemporary and in line with other best practice across Australia but also internationally as well.
MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.
MRS DUNNE: Minister, why won’t you answer Ms Hunter’s original question about what you knew about the inappropriate use of restraint and force before this inquiry, and when you knew it?