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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3497 ..

MS TUCKER: Mr Humphries says he has noticed. I am talking about evidence. I have just given you evidence, Mr Humphries, that children at risk, vulnerable children, are not being properly supported. You have just introduced an initiative which obviously has resource implications which you are not choosing to acknowledge.

MR RUGENDYKE: (5.20): Mr Speaker, I take the advice of the department, the Minister and the Chief Magistrate on radio the other day. Their belief is that there will be a small number of children on therapeutic orders. I believe that might be the case. In that context I agree that clause 414, the provision for a review of the Act within three years of its commencement, is appropriate to assess a small number of children. I therefore will not be supporting this amendment.

MR KAINE (5.21): Contrary to the position taken by Mr Rugendyke, I do support this amendment. I am not too certain whether what Ms Tucker said about a new government in three years is right or not. I will take my chance on that. But I do think that, given the characteristics of the children we are talking about here and the introduction of the new system, we cannot afford to wait for three years to see whether the system is working or whether it is not. I think it is quite appropriate for the Assembly to ask that a review be done after a shorter period of time than that so that we can be satisfied that the system is working the way we intend it to work.

How will we know if we do not check it, and how will we require the Government to check it if we do not put it into the legislation now? I think that Mr Rugendyke's assessment, regrettably, is wrong. The Government does have to be held to account on a matter as serious as this - and it is a serious matter. I for one would simply want to be reassured that the system is working the way it is intended to work. I do not believe that I should have to wait for three years to find that out. The matter is too serious for that. I support Ms Tucker on this matter.

MR WOOD (5.23): Mr Speaker, I would ask the rest of the Assembly to support this amendment. I am pleased to see it come back in a much simpler form than that presented to us on Tuesday. In the 10 years I have been in this Assembly I have had experience from time to time of the children, the young people, who will likely be affected by these therapeutic orders. It requires enormous resources to see that their care is adequate. I remember the occasion when the government of the day acquired from ACT Housing a cottage at Ainslie and put two young people in it. There were one or two or three people there at various times, but there was always at least one person there. I forget the figures, but it cost something under $200,000 a year - and I could well be corrected on that - to maintain that place. You remember it, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I do indeed.


: There are other circumstances. Someone at Quamby costs more than that, or could in these circumstances. The children we are talking about cost a great deal of money to maintain. It costs money to provide the programs. It was presented to me by one of the organisations that might well be involved in this that they needed a higher level of staff for counselling to run the programs as well as pay for the additional staff.

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