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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2734 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

mainstream corrections system within the ACT. We are attempting to overcome that with this level of administrative integration that will allow us to be able to oversee what is going on in both sectors at the one time.

Mr Speaker, I hope members will support a model which allows us to continue to do that and to think of ways of being able to improve the quality of service we deliver into our system. If we do not keep thinking about those things, we run the risk of losing value, and certainly losing a chance to turn around some people who pass through our corrections system.

MS TUCKER (4.15), in reply: I thank members for their comments. It has been an interesting debate. The first thing I want to recapitulate is that there is great community concern about this move by the Government. For the record, I will repeat that we have had expressions of concern from the Official Visitor, from the ACT Council of Social Service, from the youth sector and from members of the Aboriginal community. I have just been told that the Children's Youth and Family Association of the ACT, which includes Barnardos, Galilee, Richmond Fellowship and Marymead, shares the concerns that have already been expressed by other members of the community.

Mrs Carnell says that we should feel okay about this because they do it this way in the Northern Territory. Well, I am sorry to tell Mrs Carnell, if she does not already realise it, that most people would not regard the Northern Territory as the beacon of light or the place of best practice in terms of how juveniles are treated. In fact, this morning, I was talking to the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee in the Northern Territory and it was explained to me that now, with mandatory sentencing, a first offence for a very minor property offence receives 28 days. I probably do not need to tell members that Aboriginal youth are very well represented in detention facilities. Also, I should not have to remind members that the black deaths in custody report recommends that detention be avoided if possible. We are not hearing good things about what is happening in the Northern Territory. It cannot be used as a reason for us to put juvenile justice into adult corrections.

The other area that was mentioned by Mrs Carnell was Western Australia. It does not have the same structure; it has a separate division within justice. I have also been talking to people in Perth about how that is working. Obviously there has been limited time for me to talk to all these people, but I talked to someone who has been involved in the Institute of Criminology who did raise concerns about that model as well in terms of the impact that it has had on the treatment of juveniles, even when it has a separate division, which is a bit similar to the one that this Government seems to be proposing.

The Chief Minister also said that it will make no difference at all; that this is just an administrative move. Mr Stefaniak said the same thing; that it will just make it more efficient. Well, we still have not heard exactly how it is going to make it more efficient. If it is just such a simple administrative change with no problem, the question still has to be asked: Why was the community not consulted? If it is such a benign move, if it is such an acceptable move, what is the problem with bringing the community along with you? This is the question I have to ask the Government: What is the problem with

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