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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 813 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

said, there is no political mileage in it. I am not getting anything out of it except the exercise of the job I have been assigned.

I have been quoted as saying that only female remandees would be held there. I do not recall actually saying that, but I certainly have asked that there be a protocol that would ensure that low-risk prisoners-in as much as you can assess remandees-be accommodated there. They must all be officially classified as maximum security prisoners, but I have instructed that there be a protocol that would ensure that low-risk prisoners go there. That implies-and there is a distinct probability-that from time to time it will be the complement of women who would go there first, if there are that many women on remand.

Mr Conduit asks: would the new facilities mean prison fencing, and would it extend beyond the present plot? Answer: no. In an ideal world, if you wanted to beef up the Periodic Detention Centre, you would build a perimeter fence some distance from the building itself and you would knock down a whole lot of trees that had been there for some time. But, given that this is a temporary facility, that will not happen. The beefing up of security will be close to the building itself.

Finally, Mr Conduit asks: is the Periodic Detention Centre going to be moved? If so, where to? The Periodic Detention Centre is not going to be moved; we are only using a section of it as an extension of the Belconnen Remand Centre. But in the longer term we would expect to be building a remand centre somewhere else, not in Symonston, and possibly returning the Periodic Detention Centre to its current, original purpose.

MR HARGREAVES: Is the minister aware of comments made recently on radio by the opposition spokesman on corrective services? How do these comments align with the truth or the facts?

MR QUINLAN: I thought Mr Smyth was struggling in the extreme last night, particularly on radio. First, he made some suggestion that we ought to have remandees on home detention. Part of the reason that we have a high population on remand is the Bail Act that went through last year. The Bail Act, typically, bangs up people who are charged-not necessarily guilty-with a further offence while on bail. Now excuse me, but is there a high likelihood that these are the prisoners that we would put out for home detention? I suggest not.

Mr Smyth went on to try to divert attention by talking about people who might be criminally insane or who might suffer from some mental disorder that brings on aberrant or criminal behaviour, saying they should be kept separately. Let me remind the other side of the house that, with great fanfare last year, one Michael Moore opened Hennessy House and got the name on the brass plaque. But did he actually set the thing working? No. Did he staff it? No. He just put the brass plaque on and walked away. At least one high profile remandee, who has been assessed as having mental disabilities, was still left in a remand centre by Mr Moore-by that government.

Let me inform you, Mr Smyth, that since that time we have opened Hennessy House and that high profile prisoner is now being accommodated where he should be. Get your facts right.

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