Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 August 2011) . . Page.. 3252 ..
But in relation to the concerted effort and interest in Bimberi, while it is welcome, can I also point out that I believe that if we concentrate all of our effort on the custodial setting, on the detention setting, many times we are almost too late. We should be looking at the diversion work and the early intervention work. That is where our focus should be with our vulnerable young people.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, how many times have you been asked to arrange a visit to Bimberi? How many times have those visits actually occurred from those members of the opposition since Bimberi was opened? How many suggestions that have been proven from any or all of those members of the opposition have come across your desk?
Mrs Dunne: On a point of order as to relevance, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, members of the Legislative Assembly do not have to go through the minister—
Mr Corbell: It’s not a point of order.
Mrs Dunne: Let me finish my sentence. The Children and Young People Act gives members of this place power of entry into Bimberi Youth Justice Centre and it is not a matter for the minister to arrange.
Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, the second part of my question is: how many times have members of this opposition actually visited? It is a pure request for the facts of the number of times something has occurred.
MR SPEAKER: The question is in order. Whilst your facts may be correct, Mrs Dunne, I do not think it prevents the question being asked today. Minister Burch, the answer to the question.
MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Mr Hargreaves for his interest in the young people of Canberra. To my knowledge, to my understanding, I have not been notified of any visit by any of those opposite other than the one undertaken by Mrs Dunne and Mr Seselja in the last week or two, the last half of July this year. That was in sheer desperation to be able to come here and say that they have actually been out there before this report. As I said, that is my understanding. I will ask the department to clarify and provide me with any advice that does not sit with my opinion and my understanding.
I am more than happy to come to this place and list the date of every visit undertaken by any member of the opposition since Bimberi was commissioned. I am happy to come back with every date and every name. I am also trying to reflect on every bit of correspondence that has come to my desk from those opposite. I recall one joint signed letter between Mr Coe and Mrs Dunne and it was in regard to staff numbers. That is the only letter that I can recall but, again, Mr Speaker, I am quite happy to go back, go through my records and seek advice from the department on the number of letters that have been sent to my office from any member of the opposition with regard to youth justice and, in particular, Bimberi.