Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2754 ..

In 2019, the inspector noted that an incentives and earned privileges policy—an IEP policy—was being drafted. The government said that it would be notified and implemented by June 2020. But the government pushed it back to April 2021 and then to June 2021. It is now October 2021, and it is still neither notified nor implemented.

Rule 98 says that so far as possible the work provided shall be such as will maintain or increase the prisoner’s ability to earn an honest living after release. I find it hard to believe that many of the employment opportunities within the AMC will maintain or increase a detainee’s ability to earn an honest living after their release. Out of 35 paid job titles available within the AMC, 15 are primary cleaning positions. These are good skills to have but not very competitive in the job market.

I could argue that the government is breaching at least another half dozen standards. It is failing the prison and everyone in it and has been doing that for so many years. This government has known that in its current state it is incapable of enacting the change necessary to be fully human rights compliant, not just with international standards but with our own territory standards. Once again, I call for the minister to divest himself of the corrections portfolio if there is to be any hope of reaching the once inspirational ideals of the Alexander Maconochie Centre. 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) (11.08): I refer to my remarks and those of my colleagues in this place on 3 August this year. I will continue to work with officers and stakeholders to improve the AMC and to keep detainees safe as we battle against the invasive Delta variant. Considerable efforts have been made in the past 12 months and we will continue that work.

I also ask members to read the inspector’s report rather than rely on any misleading reporting in selected publications. The inspector stated in his media release that the decision to conduct a strip search was lawful, and his report identified that an explicit human rights framework needs to be built into AMC policies on strip searches. We are happy to receive this recommendation and have already commenced work on responding to it. This is unlikely to surprise anyone, as this government is committed to being a human rights jurisdiction. This commitment does not mean that no problems will ever be found in policies ever again, but it means that when they are identified we will act swiftly to fix them.

I also note the following statement from the inspector’s report:

As noted above, the Minister for Corrections wrote to the Inspector to declare ‘the strip search of [Detainee A] in the Crisis Support Unit of the AMC’ to be a critical incident. This was the first time since the establishment of the Office of the Inspector of Correctional Services (OICS) that a Minister or Director-General had declared an incident to be a critical incident. It was not an event that fit the other categories of ‘critical incident’ under the ICS Act and could not have been reviewed by the Inspector had the Minister not made the declaration.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video