Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1118 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
interwoven before that stage, people would say, "Beauty; I will do a community service order. Better still, I can stay at home. I do not even have to leave my place of residence to be able to take up that option". Mr Speaker, lots of people would take it up. If we had the 400 estimated by my department, we would see a cost of $170,000. So, I say to members that I cannot in all honesty proceed with this legislation at all if the Assembly wants to adopt the amendments Mr Stanhope has proposed, because that would be entirely counterproductive to the exercise the Government is engaged in here, that is, returning money to the ACT Treasury from outstanding fines.
MS TUCKER (6.18): I did say that I would support Mr Stanhope's amendments when I spoke earlier - Mr Humphries must not have heard that - because I am really interested in the concept of having another step between the licence going, the registration going, the wages being garnisheed, the mechanisms for removing property or whatever it is, and the final point of gaol, that is, the offer of community service. If someone does not have a licence to lose, does not have registration to lose, does not have wages to be garnisheed, and does not have property to be taken and that person gets to the end, my question would still be: Surely, is it not better for society generally that that person not go to gaol, because everyone here agrees that sending people to gaol can have adverse effects?
Mr Humphries has cited some figures. I would like to see them and discuss them in more detail. You say that it costs so much to run community service orders. Again, it is a question of costing. How do we cost the benefit of not sending someone to gaol? How do we cost the benefit to the community of the service that is given? What have we saved in wages there? I know that what you pay out is what you are talking about, but there are benefits to the community as a whole.
The question of having the Community Advocate involved where children are concerned is something that I am very interested in. I am interested in the concept of Mr Stanhope's. I understand that the Labor Party will be trying to adjourn this debate. I would support that, because I would like to have the opportunity to get a briefing from the Government and to have more time to talk about the Community Advocate being involved. I am not quite clear on the pros and cons of that, but I certainly support the principle of what Mr Stanhope has done in his amendments here. I think it would be useful if there were an adjournment.
MR WOOD (6.20): Mr Speaker, I was interested to hear Mr Humphries acknowledge in response to an interjection from Mr Berry that a reason, perhaps the reason, for changing the approach to community service orders which has occurred recently was the high cost of running those orders.
Mr Humphries: I am sorry; no, that was not what I said. He asked whether our view on the amendments was because of that and I said yes.
MR WOOD: No, I think the interjection was more, "Did you change on the CSOs because of the cost?".
Mr Humphries: I misheard what he said, in that case, and I am sorry.