Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2757 ..
MS BERRY: As I said, I am sure Mrs Kikkert did not mean to disparage cleaners in that way and that she will reframe it in her reply. I did just want to assure Mrs Kikkert that the return-to-work program which has been extended to detainees in the AMC assisted one of those detainees with her university studies. Rather than finding the one thing that is wrong and pointing her finger at that, maybe she could have a look a little bit deeper at what is happening at the AMC. Significant work is happening out there to improve the lives of AMC detainees by ensuring that our staff and the officers out at the AMC are properly respected and trained to be able to continue with that work. In that light, of course we do not support this motion of no confidence in Minister Gentleman. We commend him for his continuous work and for his professionalism in supporting detainees and, importantly, the staff, to ensure that the AMC operates in a human rights compliant manner.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (11.19): I am rising to respond to this no confidence motion against Minister Gentleman, which is particularly focused on the recent independent review into the use of force prior to the strip search of a female detainee at the Alexander Maconochie Centre earlier this year. I do acknowledge that this is a deeply troubling incident that highlights further issues that need to be addressed at the prison.
The report is a difficult and distressing one to read. It outlines a traumatic incident involving an Aboriginal female detainee at the AMC and does so in considerable detail. Through the strength of having an inspector of correctional services, there is a high level of transparency as to what happens at the AMC. And this report is another example of that.
I would like to express my concern at both the treatment and the findings in the report and say that there clearly is more to do. I think a body scanner will help to reduce the number of incidents of this type. The technology offers opportunities for more effective ways and, I think, more compassionate ways of dealing with the very real security issues that arise in a prison environment. Nonetheless, there is more to do.
As a government, we need to work hard to improve the culture and approach at the prison and we do need to do better. From its inception, as Mrs Kikkert has outlined in her opening remarks today, we have sought to set a higher standard at the AMC, and this report does lay bare that—despite all those efforts, despite work over some considerable years—further effort is required.
I think the observations, the findings and the recommendation of the inspector make that clear, but, as Minister Gentleman has noted in his remarks, for any minister that holds that portfolio—and obviously having held it myself—the challenge is to drive constant improvement in that environment. I know Minister Gentleman is committed to that process of constant improvement.
The report raises a number of issues that require careful consideration by the government. It finds that the search did not comply with the Human Rights Act, which is obviously a matter of significant concern. The report notes, of course, that