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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3457 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

It was a little disappointing that we had to be brought on board so late in the piece, but, notwithstanding that, Mr Speaker, I want at this point to pay credit where it is due. I pay credit to the minister for the openness with which he has sought to find his way through difficulties that we have had and to his officers who have tried their best to provide us with information when we have asked for it. I think if we had all had our druthers, Mr Speaker, we would have liked a little bit more time to do it.

I do have some concerns. The Rehabilitation of Offenders (Interim) Bill would work in a rehabilitative and restorative justice sense if the notion of home detention was at the tail end of the sentencing regime. It could be an inducement to successful progression through restorative programs. I am not so sure of it being a good remand option. I am not so sure that it is not a method of flicking some of the overload at the Belconnen Remand Centre out to the home. I am not overly convinced about that.

The reason I am not overly convinced about that is that there are two types of remandees. One type is comprised of those who have been convicted and are waiting to find out just how long the sentence is going to be. We can start those people on their road to recovery. There are also those remandees who are awaiting appearance before the courts. The Corrective Services staff at Belconnen Remand Centre know only too well just how difficult it is to get those people to cooperate in anything except talking to their lawyer. So I do not see how this can apply in a rehabilitative sense to those types of remandees, but my worries about that, Mr Speaker, are not sufficient that we would want to hold up the legislation.

I understand that we cannot compile legislation to deal with that tail end of the sentencing continuum until we have a prison of our own because we are still reliant on New South Wales for the administration of the longer sentences. I look forward to the day when legislation comes forward which will enable our judiciary to use home detention as a longer term sentencing option relevant to our own prison. I will be watching that particularly closely.

Some of the concerns we have had over the last few days centre around the regulations. I understand that you cannot do the regulations until you have done the bill. I want to express my appreciation to the minister's office and to the department for giving us a look at the drafting instructions, albeit late in the piece. They, in fact, have raised quite a number of issues which cause us concern.

One off the top of my head is that we are treating young people pretty much the same as adults, like, for example, being responsible for the cost of calls. That has not been worked out yet, but it looks as though that is the way it will work. I am aware that the minister has undertaken to work through the regulations collaboratively, and we will take him up on that, but there are quite a number of issues to do with the regulations.

Mr Speaker, the $300,000-odd is for approximately 10, but nowhere in the legislation does it say that the judiciary are going to be stopped when they get to No 10. The question I pose is what happens when the court thinks No 11 is eligible and there is no money there? I would hope the government of the day would find the money. It would be terrible if we had a really crash-hot program that was producing the goods and it was limited in its effectiveness by a budgetary limitation.

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