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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2696 ..

Corrective Services - Private Prison

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, my question is addressed to the Attorney-General, Mr Humphries. Mr Humphries, have you commissioned a feasibility study by the assistant director of Corrective Services into the provision of a private prison in the ACT? What are the findings of that study, and when will the study be released for public consultation?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Ms Follett for the question. There has been a request by the Government to do work on the establishment of a prison in the ACT. It was not expressly on a private prison; it was on the feasibility of establishing a correctional institution in the ACT. Obviously, the Government has made it very clear that we believe that the private sector should be examined as an option for providing the prison. On the experience in a number of States, including New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria, the option of providing a cost-effective prison through the private sector is obviously a very real one, and we should consider it.

I have not yet seen that report. I understand it is due very soon. My advice is that it is due to be delivered some time this month, so if it is going to come in this month it will come in very soon. When it does come in, I am very happy to make it available to members of the public. It is my intention that there should be a debate about the direction of this proposal. We believe that there is a need for us to examine the range of custodial facilities available in the ACT. As Ms Follett would know, our Remand Centre is in need of some upgrade or replacement. I am reluctant to do that out of the context of our full range of correctional needs. It may be that we can consider something which meets our needs from that stage right through to the end of the correctional process. I am looking at that issue and I am very happy to make the information available when it comes to hand.

Secondary Colleges - Appointment of Chaplains

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Education. Minister, I am curious to know what the Government's policy is on the role and appointment of chaplains to secondary colleges, and, in particular, whether a chaplain can be, or has been, a member of staff? Can a staff member be appointed as a chaplain?

MR STEFANIAK: I am afraid I would have to get back to you on that question, Ms McRae. I will take that on notice.

MS McRAE: May I add that there is a little bit of extra information that I would like.

Mr Humphries: It is a supplementary question, if you do.

MS McRAE: We are allowed to add extra information, may I remind you, Mr Humphries. When forwarding me that information, could you also include the information about how the Government's policy on chaplains takes into account the full range of religious needs of any of our colleges? Thank you, Mr Stefaniak, and thank you, Mr Speaker.

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