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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2142 ..


relation to the prison indicates he is doing just that. What is the point of having a minister who passes off his responsibility to a committee?

A prison is a place where a government should have the most control and the most opportunity to enact its vision. This government is failing miserably. It has no excuse, and there is no outside force onto which it can shift responsibility. The buck stops with the minister, and he is accountable. In his short nine months as minister, he has repeatedly placed the lives and safety of corrections officers at risk. We have no confidence in him.

I may be the one speaking now, and I may be one of the more vocal critics of the minister, but I am not the only one that the minister is accountable to. He is accountable to corrections staff as well, because they matter and their work environment matters. He owes it to them to ensure that they have a safe work environment and the opportunity to learn new skills to protect themselves.

I speak now to the ACT Greens. The parliamentary agreement for the Ninth Assembly laid out three specific circumstances where the Greens could support a motion of no confidence. These included instances of proven corruption, gross negligence or significant non-adherence to this agreement or the ministerial code of conduct.

In the parliamentary agreement for this Assembly, the circumstances have been expanded. My hope is that this expansion occurred because the Greens members want more freedom to hold this government to account. They can support a motion of no confidence put forward by the opposition where the government engages in conduct that threatens public confidence in the integrity of the government or public administration.

The failures of this minister, crowned by the very public escape of an inmate, not only constitute gross negligence but also have threatened, and do threaten, public confidence in the integrity of this government and its administration of the prison. It would be hard to find anyone in Canberra who keeps a close eye on the news who is confident that the government is effectively running the prison. The Greens are clearly within their rights to support this motion.

This government must do better, and it starts with Minister Mick Gentleman divesting himself of the corrections portfolio. I commend this motion to the Assembly.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.16): I have always stood up for workers and will continue to do so. I have done this across all of my portfolios, and I took the same approach when I took over the corrections portfolio in November last year.

Managing prisons in any jurisdiction in Australia is challenging. Ours is no different. When I became minister, this was the clear message I received from the oversight bodies, stakeholders, staff, management and the union. During my short time in my portfolio, I have met with corrections officers and staff across the entirety of ACT


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