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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1083 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

those things which are not provided for them. Members would be aware that everything of an essential nature is provided for them - food, clothing, and accommodation, obviously. The BRC management makes available a number of jobs or tasks within the framework of the operation of the centre to ensure that people at the centre who have no access to money in any way - that is, through having money already or having relatives or friends who will make money available to them in the centre - are able to earn money for things that are not provided to them, such as cigarettes.

There was a concern by the Belconnen Remand Centre previously that the supplying of cigarettes to inmates at the centre would give rise to a legal liability on the part of the BRC. Members would be aware that there have been a number of actions in recent days inferring liability on parties or organisations supplying free tobacco. I think the Navy has been the subject of one of those actions. So there was some concern about that. There was also concern about the cost of that supply. I am told that it amounted to something like $10,000 a year to supply that tobacco. It was supposed to be supplied to inmates of the centre only on the basis that they could not afford to buy it themselves. I am told that people would receive money and would deliberately spend it in order to be able to receive the free ration, since the ration was not tied to any responsible spending of the money that they had.

The situation now, I am advised, Mr Speaker, is that when a person who is destitute and without any money enters the BRC they are given a one-off sum of $10 to be able to make purchases of that kind and, when that $10 is spent, jobs or tasks which are remunerated are made available to them in order for them to earn other money to purchase such things as cigarettes. It meant, in all cases, that people were buying what they wanted in the way of cigarettes and the like. We are not supplying it free to anybody, but means are made available to make sure that people there do have the capacity to purchase. I do not believe that any jobs have been cut back to the point that there is not a capacity for those who need money to earn that money, but I will take that part of the question on notice.

O'Connor Ridge

MS HORODNY: My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning, Mr Humphries. Minister, you may be familiar with that section of the Canberra Nature Park called O'Connor Ridge, which runs adjacent to Dryandra Street in O'Connor and separates O'Connor from the Institute of Sport. There was until recently a pleasant walking track along the top of the ridge which was used by many local residents. Unfortunately, these residents and the local Parkcare group found to their surprise and dismay a couple of weeks ago that a bulldozer had gone down the track and scoured out what now looks like a dirt road. Could the Minister tell us why this bulldozing was carried out and whether any assessment was done beforehand of the destruction that this bulldozing would cause to the vegetation along the track?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, no, I cannot tell Ms Horodny about that because I have no idea what a particular bulldozer was doing in the O'Connor Ridge area. With great respect, if you want to get an answer to a question like that - - -

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