Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 8 December 2011) . . Page.. 6003 ..
The purpose of the bill, as I have been briefed by the minister’s office, is to make small administrative changes and clarifications to reduce the administration burden on those officials operating within the scheme of the act without detracting from its operation. The changes to the segregation orders under the Corrections Management Act 2007 ensure that such segregation orders are only required to be reviewed when a detainee is travelling away from the facility for a period of greater than one day. It does not prevent a review of the order if the travel is for less than one day but it does not make it mandatory to do so.
The amendments to the periodic detention provisions under the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 are a clarification of the current legislation as highlighted by a current member of the judiciary. The change to the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 is a change that will reduce the administrative burden.
The Canberra Liberals do not see any obstacles to the passing of these amendments and I will be voting in support of them today.
MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (5.08): The Greens will support the Corrections and Sentencing Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. This is a technical bill to improve the administration of corrections services in the ACT, including the Sentence Administration Board. The bill does not make any major policy changes. In the main it simply clarifies aspects of existing legislation to ensure that current policies are implemented effectively.
I note that the scrutiny of bills committee has considered this bill and made no comments. I thank the government for the helpful briefing provided on this bill. I understand that the collection of changes in this bill have been raised with the government over a period of time from officials working in corrections and from judicial officers. They have raised issues that they believe need clarification or with day to day practice show that legislation will benefit from some changes.
One of the changes made by this bill is the removal of the requirement for the director-general under the Corrections Management Act to review a detainee’s segregation order if the prisoner is being transferred to another correctional centre for one day or less. This makes administrative sense. A review is not needed given that the detainee’s circumstances are not particularly changing and they are not actually being relocated. I note that a detainee can still request a review or the director-general can decide to review the order if it is required.
The other changes I will mention are those to the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act. These make a number of clarifications and allowances such as letting the board accept a certified copy of a doctor’s certificate from an offender applying for approval not to perform a period of periodic detention. This is a good administrative change and I can imagine it would be quite difficult for prisoners to get certified copies of documents. The bill also will allow the deputy chair of the board to sign certain documents that formerly could only be signed by the chair. This should also help with the smooth administration, and I note that the deputy chair is also a judicial member.