Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3127 ..
The ACT is still working on a key Domestic Violence policy a year after it was expected to be delivered.
A plan for regular reviews of family violence deaths remains outstanding. The Domestic Violence Prevention Council did a pilot death review in 2015, and its Chair Marcia Williams says it gave valuable information. The government says it will consult stakeholders this year and legislate sometime after that.
It begs the question as to why there has been such a delay in that important body of work, consulting the stakeholders; and what does “sometime after that” actually mean?
This area enjoys tripartisan support; in actual fact, it was the support by the government of an ACT opposition motion that led to a roundtable from which much of this work has stemmed. So it is really not good enough, and the government would enjoy our support in addressing this issue in a more timely fashion.
Another area that has again enjoyed tripartisan support but seems not to have progressed in the timely fashion one would expect is that of the drug and alcohol court. In the budget publication the government is committed to continuing design work on the establishment of a dedicated drug and alcohol court. The phrase “continuing design work on the establishment of a dedicated drug and alcohol court” is, frankly, weasel words of the worst sort. I reiterate: I am baffled. This area enjoys tripartisan support, so why is the government dragging its heels on this matter?
We have seen in other jurisdictions how effective these courts can be, particularly in redirecting offenders away from more serious engagement with the criminal justice system. Yet all we are hearing is “continued design work”. The budget papers show some support, but it is limited in the first year and apparently non-existent in the outyears. It really is not good enough; we really need to see outcomes and we need to see them sooner rather than later.
I turn then to the new court buildings, and we are aware of the significant delays in completion which seem to be dragging on. Again, this is an area that enjoyed tripartisan support, but the government has failed to deliver on time. I am disappointed in the response we have received from the government on this matter. When we asked when the new court would be finalised, we got the response, “In due course.” It is really not good enough. It reminds me a little of the frustration you may be feeling, Madam Deputy Speaker, with the upgrades to the women and children’s hospital where we are just not getting the answers that we deserve when there are delays. We have been reassured that any costs related to the delay will be the responsibility of the partner in this project, but we will be keeping a close eye on that to make sure that it is, indeed, the case.
I raise these issues where the government enjoys tripartisan support but unfortunately is still failing to deliver. It is disappointing and I urge the government to address these issues by the next time we are in this place debating the budget.
There is one area I want to address where it does not seem there is tripartisan support and which is a real issue of significance to this whole community: organised crime