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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3866 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (5.52): Mr Speaker, one gets the impression listening to the corrections minister that there are parts of his portfolio that he quite enjoys and feels quite comfortable with; parts that he quite likes to get into once he arrives in the morning, gets all the papers sorted out on the desk and plunges in here.

Mr Wood: You're going to be Gary-ed again here, Ted; I can feel it coming.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Wood, this is the feeling I have. There are other things about his portfolio that he doesn't really quite so much enjoy. My impression, Mr Speaker, is that the Deputy Chief Minister probably doesn't get a great deal of satisfaction out of corrections part of his portfolio, that he would prefer there wasn't a proposal for a prison that he inherited from the former government, that there wasn't this-

Mr Quinlan: An unfunded proposal, might I add.


Mr Quinlan: And funded.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, we have heard Mr Quinlan talk in the Assembly about the need to have private sector funding of a new convention centre. Let me say, from our point of view, "Hear, hear; great idea." I think it is silly to expect the public purse to meet all the cost of a new convention centre. In fact, I would like to see it all met from the private sector.

But I would say to you that just as a new convention centre is a very important facility from the point of view of the ACT community and the infrastructure that we need, so also a new prison is an important piece of infrastructure. I have argued, my side of politics has argued, for a long time that we do need to think about a prison, and the only way we can reasonably afford such a facility is to invite private sector investment in building and creating the facility-not necessarily operating it but certainly building it. Of course, that is not a new idea. Lots of states have done that and have maintained prisons on that basis.

Mr Speaker, the fact is that despite the claim from the minister that he inherited a remand centre that was in bad shape, a longer term view about the history of this matter reveals a rather different story to what has happened with corrections in this territory over the last eight or nine years.

It is perfectly true that the Belconnen Remand Centre is a facility which is clapped out, which is well past its use-by date, which is functionally incapable of delivering good-quality service, which is extremely expensive per head of remandee and which we shouldn't be using. That was the point that the Liberal opposition was making eight years ago when we were moving into the 1995 election. That was the case we were arguing then, to the resistance of the then Labor government.

Mr Wood: Not so.

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