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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2315 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I want to read those two recommendations so that members are clear about the context. Recommendation (1) states:

I would recommend as a matter of urgency that there be an inquiry into the problems caused by the dynamics of the children residents at Quamby. It is clear from the evidence that if the situation which existed as at September 1996 is to continue, particularly in so far as the mix of children, then there needs to be much more careful selection and training of staff to manage the institution. There would need to be included in this inquiry consideration of whether it is appropriate to continue to contain within the one institution all of the types of people currently held at Quamby. It may be undesirable for this situation to continue. The evidence would suggest that such an inquiry ought to be held in public and perhaps desirably might be referred to a standing committee of the Legislative Assembly.

Recommendation (3) states:

I would recommend that there be only one government division responsible for all administration of corrections within the Territory. The further consideration of this recommendation might usefully be part of any inquiry held as I have recommended in recommendation 1. above.

Mr Speaker, the Government accepts the recommendations of the coroner. I might say that there are several other recommendations that His Worship makes - in fact, 14 recommendations in total - and the Government has moved substantially on those recommendations. In respect of the two recommendations that give rise to an inquiry, the Government's view is that there should be an inquiry and it should be, as His Worship suggests, by the Legislative Assembly. The committee which I recommend conduct this inquiry is the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety. The motion reflects the fact that the administrative responsibility for that matter has transferred to Department of Justice and Community Safety. Therefore, in terms of shadowing what the department does, it would be appropriate that the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety conduct the inquiry.

I know the suggestion has been put forward that His Worship was really foreshadowing that there should be a transfer of the division after there has been an inquiry, not before. I would suggest to members that that is not really a sustainable view. If His Worship was saying that there should be a transfer of the department after there has been a consideration of this by an Assembly committee, then arguably you would have to say it would not be appropriate to recommend that this occur unless that was the recommendation of the committee, which I do not believe is what he is saying.

Mr Speaker, I believe it is appropriate to have that transfer occur immediately. Indeed, it has occurred. If the inquiry gives rise to any reason to reconsider that, that reconsideration could occur in the future, but in the meantime the proposal should be accepted as moved by the Government.

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