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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 812 ..

MR QUINLAN: I do not know whether I should answer that question, because it is based on a false premise that I tentatively or whatever-sheepishly-tabled it.

Can you reflect on the fact, Mr Humphries, that this was designed to make an assessment as at 31 October? That was the point of the exercise. Therefore, this document remains unchanged-because this was an assessment of the financial position at 31 October, based on the intelligence that was then available. The reason why I committed an incoming government to do this, the reason why it was done and why we wanted to assess the position, was that I had been asking you, Mr Humphries, previous to that day, "What is the real position?" and was getting no real information.

Periodic Detention Centre

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister in his capacity as minister for corrections, and it relates to the Periodic Detention Centre at Symonston. Has the minister received correspondence from the Residents Against a Symonston Prison expressing concern about the possibility of a de facto prison being built at Symonston? If so, would the minister respond to those concerns so that all of Canberra can be in no doubt about the possibility of a prison emerging at Symonston?

MR QUINLAN: Yes, I have received an email from Mr Bruce Conduit of Residents Against a Symonston Prison. This body has already stated that they are reasonably satisfied with what is happening at Symonston, provided it is temporary. Mr Conduit, quite logically, asked a series of questions.

Firstly, will we stand by our commitment that there will be no prison in Symonston? Answer: yes. Secondly, how can we be certain that the centre will remain temporary? There he will have to take our word for it, but I have stated clearly and made a commitment that the centre will be temporary and occasionally used. I expect it to be used relatively regularly.

Mr Humphries: At this stage.

MR QUINLAN: There is no political gain in my doing anything at Symonston other than exercise my duty as minister for corrections to ensure the safety of both the custodial staff and the remandees there.

Mr Hargreaves: What are things like at the BRC?

MR QUINLAN: Not flash, I have to say. There is no political gain to be made out of this. I know you are anxious to make a fuss out of it, but what is there to be gained?

Mr Conduit went on to ask: what does "temporary" mean? My response to Mr Conduit is: two to three years, probably.

At this point I would also like to point out that, if you lot had been re-elected and gone ahead with a prison at Symonston, you would still have faced the immediate problem that is faced at the Belconnen Remand Centre. And if you had not done anything about it, you would have been irresponsible in the extreme. It just has to be done. As I have

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