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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2755 ..


As I indicated a few weeks ago, the official government response to the inspector’s report will likely agree, or agree in principle, to all of the recommendations. And I am focused on taking action in my role as Minister for Corrections. When problems are identified, we have moved quickly to fix them, time and time again. The announcement of an additional body scanner for AMC was an example of this.

The inspector’s report highlighted the fact that strip searches can be distressing and traumatising for detainees. However, he also acknowledged that they are sometimes necessary in a custodial setting to ensure safety. This is the same predicament faced in every prison in the country. The solution to this is to focus on new technologies that allow us to dramatically reduce the need for strip searching, and that is exactly what we are doing. Most of the inspector’s reports in my short time as minister have come about because I have referred them. These have shed light on procedures that pre-date the current commissioner and me, and we have been working together, and with staff, to improve these procedures. We have made great progress, and substantial headway has been made in getting recommendations implemented and training of staff up-to-date during my time as minister.

I also note that the Chief Health Officer has been complimentary of the COVID-19 protocols at AMC. These have helped manage what is a challenging time for staff and detainees. There is no denying that the situation at present at AMC is not ideal, but we are in a pandemic and we are responding to each new circumstance as it arises. This is the same challenge faced by every community and every state and territory in the country. I am confident that we are doing a good job and learning from each new hurdle. I thank Corrections staff for their dedication in providing care and support for detainees throughout this time. I am told that over the weekend several staff cancelled leave plans to take on extra shifts and support detainees.

The Delta variant is unprecedented. There is no textbook, there is no formula, and we need to trust the skill of our commissioner and the Chief Health Officer and their teams. What has been shown to date is that staff have been up to the challenge and have been able to respond in a timely and professional manner. I will continue doing my job supporting corrections staff in our great community groups, as they support detainees at AMC and strive to provide the best possible care.

Let us be clear: this motion is a stunt. This stunt is one of two things. Either it is a desperate attempt by the Canberra Liberals to distract from their failures—they have no real plans for our city—or it is Mrs Kikkert’s way of showing no confidence in her leader and attempting to steal Mrs Lee’s limelight during the budget. Let us get on with the sitting week, where the government is focused on responding to the public health emergency, recovering our economy and investing in our great city.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (11.13): I rise to speak briefly on this motion brought by Mrs Kikkert and the Canberra Liberals against Mick Gentleman, a good colleague of mine here in the ACT Labor-Greens government. He


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