Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1913 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I think it is fair to link the number of indigenous Australians with substance abuse problems who are detained with our commitment to the recommendations of the black deaths in custody report and its outcomes. It is very legitimate for us to do that. The advice before us from the Department of Health was that there is a waiting period of up to seven weeks for the methadone program. I do not fully understand how it is that a person that is detained and deprived of access to the substance to which they are addicted can, when they are locked out of access to any other ameliorating substance, maintain their sanity, equilibrium or balance in that environment.
I note the response by the Minister for Health that the Government is prepared to look at a program of ensuring that people that are detained who have a significant substance abuse problem are not required to wait that length of time. I do realise there are real issues of equity in when prisoners receive priority treatment over non-prisoners in relation to access to the methadone program.
Mr Moore: Except that they are contained.
MR STANHOPE: Yes. But there are issues that we do need to address and come to grips with. The people that are detained, I think, are in a special circumstance to a large extent. This is a debate that we will have in this place at a later date.
The Estimates Committee looked in some detail at the criminal injuries compensation proposals. It considered the current scheme and the proposals which the Minister has put forward. That is a debate we can have elsewhere as well. There are real concerns about some aspects of the move away from the current regime, though I do have some sympathy for the Minister's desire to put some cap on the cost of that program. I understand the desire, but I am concerned that, if there is to be a new approach adopted, it not be at the cost of victims of crime, particularly that range of victims of crime whose injuries are not physical. A telling example would be victims of sexual assault. There are a whole range of stratagems in relation to criminal injuries compensation that need to be considered. I am not sure that the hard and fast approach that might be adopted would be appropriate. We will need to debate that.
My colleague Mr Hargreaves has raised a whole range of concerns that the ALP has about policing. There are some very serious issues facing the people of Canberra, particularly the residents of Woden, as I am sure the Minister is aware. A significant number of residents at Woden have a belief, held genuinely, that policing services in Woden will be significantly affected by the closure of the Woden Police Station. There are genuine concerns about the level of policing services available to the people of Canberra and their right to feel safe.
My colleague also covered his concerns about the Ayers report. It is a subject that has been raised in this place over the last week or so. I cannot understand, and cannot accept, that the Attorney-General of the ACT, the person with responsibility for the Australian Federal Police and the policing of the Territory, cannot be brought into the confidence of