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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2662 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

largely sorted out. Remaining differences were only peripheral. The thrust of the report is very positive. Prison project officers will look very carefully at both the panel report and the committee report.

This report is example of the very best of this Assembly over the last year. From its inception the committee worked to get an outcome, focusing on the outcome rather than the political issues. With that situation, a minister is much more responsive to a committee report. I know that the department is also keen to respond in a positive way.

I would like to comment on a couple of the recommendations, understanding that these will be considered carefully by the government and by the project committee in preparation for a response in the next Assembly. Detoxification and rehabilitation programs are very important. I remind members that it is not the number of beds that is critical. It is number of people who are waiting and the time they have to wait.

I had a very interesting discussion with another jurisdiction the other day on this issue. The minister in that jurisdiction was flabbergasted when I pointed out that the upper estimate of 1,500 dependent users in the territory, combined with over 1,000 treatment places, represented a ratio of 2:3. I believe that would be outstanding by Australian standards. It does not necessarily mean it is enough. We have to keep an eye on that. We can check that people are not waiting to get into the methadone program, which has just been expanded so that buprenorphine and, before too long, naltrexone can be used.

Recommendation 9 recommends a stronger commitment to non-custodial sentencing options. The government is committed to that. Just today I have introduced legislation.

The government will look very carefully at the hybrid operating model and assess exactly what the committee is saying in light of other information.

I would like to support something Mr Hird pointed out. In a project like this, it is possible to get caught up in a huge amount of administration. We have to be financially responsible and careful-that is the clear message from the committee-and at the same time make sure the prison is built. It has been nearly six years in the development. We cannot continue delays. Members have visited Belconnen Remand Centre. The situation there is desperate. If we get more law and order legislation through the Assembly-whether you think it is a good thing or bad thing does not matter-it will put more pressure on the Remand Centre and on our courts.

We have to find the appropriate balance. Whoever is minister for corrections following the October election will need to be on the ball driving this project. They will have to decide whether or not a delay is outweighed by the need for care in financial management. Both are important, and getting the balance right is the critical issue.

The Chief Minister has already acknowledged that the balance was not correct with Bruce Stadium. I raise that matter because I want to respond to Mr Kaine. The prison is a much bigger project than Bruce Stadium, but it is worth remembering that there was a significant attempt to make Bruce Stadium a public/private project. The fact that the prison is a public project removes many of the problems that were associated with Bruce Stadium.

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