Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 October 2011) . . Page.. 4678 ..
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.36): The government will not be supporting this bill. As we have already heard, Mr Rattenbury’s bill would amend the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 to require the government to report on recidivism rates in the ACT as part of the annual report process and to undertake a review into the operation of sentencing in the ACT. I do not consider there is a need to legislate for these matters. Mr Rattenbury said both the government and the Liberals have been taking an “ad hoc approach to sentencing” and that the bill I have previously introduced in relation to sentencing for a number of offences is “a rather over-speedy response to one-off situations and to be incident based rather than evidence based”.
I reject Mr Rattenbury’s claim that the government bill represents a knee-jerk reaction. The government bill addresses concerns that the DPP raised with me in relation to the penalties for these five offences and after careful consideration of what appropriate penalties should be. The analysis took into account other jurisdictions and the model Criminal Code but also considered the ACT context.
The government does not support either of Mr Rattenbury’s proposed amendments to the Crimes (Sentencing) Act. I will first discuss the amendment relating to recidivism and then the amendment relating to sentencing. In relation to recidivism, the government has a number of concerns about this amendment. Firstly, the proposed legislative amendment is not needed. This is because the government already provides information on repeat offenders as part of its reporting obligations under the Productivity Commission’s report on government services.
In addition, my directorate has already committed to reporting upon recidivism in the territory in its annual report. This commitment is a result of recommendation 33 from the Select Committee on Estimates 2010-2011 into its report on the appropriation bill of that year. In tabling the government’s response to this report in this Assembly on 29 June the government committed to report on recidivism indicators in the 2011-12 annual report. This commitment is repeated on page 123 of the 2010-11 annual report of my directorate.
This amendment would see the government required to report on data it has already committed to report on through the Productivity Commission’s report on government services and has subsequently agreed to extend to annual reports. I think this highlights that there is already an agreed reporting framework in place. It is a consequence of a recommendation of the select committee on estimates in this place and the government has agreed to the recommendation. In that context, I see no need for a statutory requirement given the commitments that have already been made.
In relation to the issue of sentencing, Mr Rattenbury proposes an amendment that would require the government to undertake a six-yearly review into sentencing in the ACT. The government gives in-principle support for a sentencing review but does not see why such a review needs to have statutory effect. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, such a review, in our view, is not appropriately conducted by statutory force. Such a review will be highly resource intensive. This very fact is acknowledged by