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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 236 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

a pass mark it only just got it. I also understand that recently there has been an occupational health and safety review of that facility and, again, it just squeaked through. So we do have a severe problem and a problem that must be addressed.

When it is addressed, we will observe the appropriate consultation with the people of Canberra, the people likely to be affected. We will also do our best to make sure that we have a remand centre that remains open. That is going to be a challenge in itself. Thanks very much for the legacy.

MR HUMPHRIES: I ask a supplementary question. Thank you, Mr Quinlan, for that answer. Can I take it then that when you consult with residents of Narrabundah and Red Hill the consultation will include the option for them to say they would rather not have a de facto prison within a couple hundred metres or less of their homes? In this consultation, how many remandees will you be advising them are to be housed so close to their homes?

MR QUINLAN: To answer the last question first, I cannot give you a number on that. Before we went into the consultation process, if that becomes a reality-and let us say it is an "if" at this stage-we would also look at the process for the allocation of remandees to that facility. As you are probably aware, by definition, all remandees are high-security prisoners. However, within the number of remandees at any given time, there are remandees of different natures and there are remandees that are held for different reasons. I am not going to predict in any refined way exactly how the deployment of remandees would be handled, but I will be looking for the department to come forward with a program that is sympathetic to the very issues you are alluding to.

Mr Stanhope: Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Needle exchange program

MR STANHOPE: I would like to provide some additional information, as promised, in answer to a question that I received yesterday from Ms Dundas about a 24-hour needle exchange. I have some further information that I would like to give the Assembly about the needle and syringe program.

Currently, the needle and syringe program provides 24 hours of needle availability in the ACT. There are a number of prime outlets, including ACT Community Care Directions, plus health centres that operate as part of the needle and syringe program. In addition, more than 16 community pharmacies, including late night pharmacies, operate under the program. Calvary Hospital also currently operates a 24-hour needle and syringe program.

Directions, which coordinates the program, is at the same time actively working with clients who in the past collected injecting equipment from Calvary Hospital during the day time, to redirect them to other outlets. This has not been identified by clients at this point as an issue. Other outlets have proven more accessible for some clients where transportation is an issue.

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