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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2402 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

The Government has accepted the recommendation about establishing a single government division for corrective services. The possibility of transferring these responsibilities has been a topic of informal discussion for some time. It has been in the public domain since the coroner's report and the community has been on notice that this was the approach that the Government was likely to take.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, in a jurisdiction the size of the ACT, co-location of corrective services does provide an opportunity for better management and for efficiencies in the area. It is certainly true that this Government takes very seriously the very different issues involved in juvenile justice and, for that matter, adult justice. Some areas are the same. Issues involving indigenous people in our justice system are issues that the Government takes very seriously. The Government, by the way, is not alone in its approach to moving both of these areas under the same jurisdiction. In fact, the Northern Territory, another small jurisdiction, does it the same way, as does Western Australia, where adult and youth corrections fall under one ministry.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I come back to the core issue here. I, as Chief Minister, made a decision to allocate a particular ministerial portfolio, something that I have the right to do under the Act. I did that based upon the coroner's report, based upon a number of discussions that we have had in this area at the Executive level and based upon what we believe will be the best outcome for the community. That is the responsibility of the Chief Minister and the Executive in this place. We have also undertaken to go down the path of having an Assembly inquiry look at a number of the issues that the coroner has recommended we look at. We are very happy to do that and we have indicated that that committee should report by, I think, the middle of next year.

I think that a government that takes note of a coroner's recommendations and looks at the issues to determine what is in the best interests of the Territory should be supported in this place. Most importantly, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, if this Assembly were to move away from the self-government Act and start telling the Chief Minister how to align portfolio responsibilities and administrative arrangements, I would have to say that the whole basis of self-government in the ACT would start to fall apart.

This motion calls on the Government not to go down a particular path. We have already done so. Responsibility for Quamby has already changed and the gazettal notice has been tabled in this place. I take my responsibilities as Chief Minister very seriously. I would have to say that I believe that those responsibilities have been exercised appropriately and we will be sticking with that gazettal approach.

MR WOOD (3.47): The Opposition will be supporting Ms Tucker's motion. I will not go through the arguments as to where Quamby should finish up in the end. That is now appropriately the task of a committee to inquire into and report on and for subsequent debate in this Assembly.

I will make one comment about Quamby and it is one that I think will please the Government. All the reports I have had on Quamby in recent times have been very favourable. The reports I get tell me that under the new administration and under the new directions Quamby, as it was then under Education, has been going along very much better and is on the way to doing a very good job in this very difficult field.

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