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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1916 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

I believe that there are good initiatives in this budget for police and emergency services. It is good to see development work and design beginning on the ACT prison, which is something we seriously need. I have been to Goulburn Gaol on several occasions and it is draconian, archaic and a disgraceful - - -

Mr Berry: I have never been to Goulburn Gaol.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): Order, Mr Berry! Arrangements may well be made. Mr Rugendyke has the call.

MR RUGENDYKE: Thank you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. I might add that my reason for going there on some occasions has been to take juveniles, young people on the verge of going to the big house, for a look. I believe that gives young people a choice as to which direction they wish to go. I have seen first-hand the conditions of Goulburn Gaol. It is a truly dreadful place. The ACT should have its own prison to look after the whole range of prisoners, detainees and other people destined for incarceration. The sooner we have a facility which is new and much better than Goulburn the better.

I also have concerns with the legal aid situation. As my colleague Mr Stanhope mentioned, there are major problems, as I see it, in the way legal aid money is both handed out and unable to be handed out - handed out for some and unable to be handed out for others who may deserve it. I certainly hope that those sorts of issues can be resolved. Overall, there is positive news, I think, for policing in the ACT and for the emergency services.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (4.32): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, there have been some interesting comments made today about this appropriation, or at least about the subject matter of policing and emergency services in the Territory, and other justice issues. We need to be conscious of the fact that the pressures throughout the whole of the criminal justice system in particular and in other areas of our system with respect to the provision of services such as emergency services are increasing all the time.

In the criminal justice system in particular, for example, we have seen an increasing demand for legal aid. We have seen an increasing demand for policing services. We have seen an increase in throughput through the courts and the need for additional resources in the courts by way of judges or magistrates. We have seen additional demands on our corrective service system and we have seen supplementary services for each of those components also placed under extra demand. It has been a major juggling exercise to keep that pressure under control and to ensure that we continue to deliver services in an equitable way.

I think, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, members of the community will see a number of areas where the Government has delivered additional resources in order to meet those demands. In each of those areas I have referred to, members will be aware of additional resources put in to make sure that the expectations of the community are being met.

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