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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 12 April 2018) . . Page.. 1381 ..


And when asked again in August, you stated:

I would like to assure the Assembly that Bimberi Youth Justice Centre is appropriately staffed.

We then learnt last sitting that, in the second half of 2017, kids in Bimberi were confined to their rooms 95 times, with insufficient staffing a cause. Minister, why did you tell this Assembly that Bimberi was appropriately staffed when in fact lack of workers was contributing to the occurrence of an operational lockdown every other day, on average?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Kikkert for her question. She is of course referring to the Bimberi headline indicators report that I tabled in March, and that was a report that I commissioned as part of my commitment to an open and transparent youth justice centre and system. This commitment to establish the new report was made in a ministerial statement in this place on 1 August.

Subsequently, in response to a motion and some comments made in this place by Mr Coe and Mrs Kikkert, I wrote to them, among other things reiterating my commitment to this report and advising them that I would seek advice on the possibility of including information on the frequency of lockdowns in the report, which I did, in line with my commitment to transparency.

Subsequent to that, in October last year, on 31 October, I tabled the Official Visitor (Children and Young People) report and at that time I made a tabling statement. The tabling statement said:

In their reports, the official visitors have consistently noted that they are received well by the staff and management at Bimberi and have expressed their satisfaction with the level of care provided to young people. The official visitors have recently raised a concern about operational lockdowns at Bimberi and the potential for this to disrupt young people’s participation in education programs at the Murrumbidgee Education and Training Centre.

Bimberi management has responded to these concerns by ensuring that, where possible, management of an operational lockdown does not interfere with access to educational services and also by undertaking recruitment to ensure that staffing levels can respond to increases in the number of young people in Bimberi and the pressures of unplanned leave. A period of low numbers in Bimberi has resulted in the depletion of the casual staffing pool and consequently the capacity of Bimberi to respond to a temporary increase in numbers. I am pleased to note that six new youth workers commenced in June and a further four are currently in their last week of training.

Any suggestion that I have not updated the Assembly on this matter since last August is completely false.

Mrs Dunne interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, please; we do not need that.


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