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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 488 ..


I accept that the minister has come up with some of the information that has been called for in the motion and in particular that he has explained that the reason for the detainee being allowed to walk out the front door when he should not have been was human error. It does not give a great deal of confidence to those listening to know that human error is a reason why something can happen, because human error could also happen again tomorrow presumably. There has not been an explanation of a change of systems. Was this human error because of a lack of training? Was it human error because the systems were not tight enough? Was it human error because someone looked at the wrong list?

In our debates it is really valuable and a justice to the community to, as much as possible, explain how and why things have happened. I hope that policies have changed and have been improved, and I accept that the person or people involved have been counselled. But I still think there is more information about the underlying government failings that allowed such a grave error to occur that has not been given during this debate, so we will be continuing to pursue the motion.

I accept the minister saying that a long-serving minister has some knowledge of the portfolio and has a certain amount of corporate understanding. I do not think it is helping at the moment, because not a week goes by without an incident occurring. It is quite disturbing to see the number of incidents that are occurring out of this facility. Maybe we have to have a mature debate about whether our facility can cater to absolutely everybody. Maybe Julie Tongsā€™s perspective has some weight to it, because she is dealing on a daily basis with people who have come in and out of the facility and the effect the facility has had on them. I know certainly from touring the facility that we have a lot of different categories of offenders and that no contact between certain offenders is very hard to manage.

I think the minister is saying that, because some of the events that were discussed in my motion occurred as far back as two years ago, we should not perhaps be discussing them here. I think that is nonsense. The government would much prefer to deal with its record of success than its record of failings. I understand that. But an important part of discussing where we are at with this portfolio is that month by month, fortnight by fortnight, something severe goes wrong and something more than disappointing: quite seriously disappointing. There are people who will never get over some of the things that have occurred in this facility, young men whose lives should have continued.

I was interested to hear the minister say that ACT Health is the right body to keep inmates when they have been transferred. However, we still do not have any information about how that will be achieved. Perhaps the minister for health should be here describing that. If an inmate is put into the adult mental health unit there is a certain level of security in the facility. If an inmate is put into the secure mental health facility there is a higher level of security in that facility. But if an inmate is taken to hospital clearly there is not very much security, because it is not a facility set up for people who are likely to want to abscond. That has not yet been explained. I look forward to more information about the problems with the detainee trust fund and more information about the money that is being spent on security.


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