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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2830 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

damaged by heat and fire. Further investigation revealed dangerous and illegal wiring throughout the tent and other tents on the site.

As the electrical installation was unsafe and did not comply with the required standards, it was disconnected and "danger" tagged. As the owner of the site, the Commonwealth has the responsibility, through the NCA, to ensure that all electrical wiring on national land is safe. The ACT government will provide the necessary support in giving advice to the Commonwealth in that regard.

The Commonwealth also has responsibility for reconnection of electricity to the site of the tent embassy if that is the decision they make. Similarly, it is the responsibility of the National Capital Authority, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to ensure that the recently installed solar panels, kindly donated by Greenpeace, are installed in a safe and proper manner. The NCA may request further attendance by PALM electrical safety inspectors.

I can advise that a PALM safety inspector inspected the solar panels late last week. They issue only 12 volts. They are not particularly powerful devices. They were approved as safe, and PALM has given the thumbs-up for the operation of those devices.

Remand facility

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for corrections, Mr Quinlan. It concerns the proposed new remand centre. Minister, the comprehensive analysis performed by Rengain last year showed that a publicly owned, privately run prison was the best option for a comprehensive corrections facility, with a net present value of $1 million better than the do-nothing option. Rengain rated the remand-only facility as the worst option, with a net present value of $54 million worse than the do-nothing option. Why did the government decide to go ahead with the stand-alone remand centre, given that the Rengain report rated it as the worst option, and has the government performed subsequent financial analysis of the remand centre which justifies this decision?

MR QUINLAN: The decision to go ahead with the remand centre is not going to be taken just on the basis of economics. The remand centre we have now is entirely inadequate.

Mr Humphries: Build a new prison as well.

MR QUINLAN: That may happen, Mr Humphries. We have said that we have no choice but to build a remand centre. Does anyone want to argue with that? If they do, I think they should put up their hand and make their public position known. That needs to go ahead.

Quite probably, the economics of building a combined facility would benefit from that original conclusion that we now look at the cost of building a jail to accommodate a complement of prisoners not hugely greater than the capacity of the remand centre. That would become an exercise in marginal costing, inasmuch as there has to be a site and there have to be basic facilities. So the probabilities are that the economic justification for the jail is highly enhanced by the absolute need to build a remand centre. That is all we have said. You are shaking your head. That is all we have said.

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