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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 295 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

I am advised that yet again the ACT is leading the way in community corrections with this bill and that we can expect other jurisdictions to follow suit. So well done to the drafters and the government for bringing this bill forward.

MS TUCKER (11.47): The Greens will also be supporting this bill. As you are aware, Mr Speaker, we are very interested in supporting the community-based option of sentencing and other non-custodial sentences. We have had concerns about home detention as a scheme. There are questions about the amount of contact or programs that may help a person to develop a crime-free life, mechanisms to avoid situations that facilitate domestic violence and so on.

This bill is about coordinating the system nationally. The bill provides a scheme for transferring and enforcing community-based sentences between Australian jurisdictions and it will enable people serving non-custodial sentences to serve their sentence interstate in certain circumstances. I understand that this arrangement is totally consistent with all wisdom on rehabilitation-that individual circumstances should be taken into account. Helping to avoid the separation of an offender from his or her family or friends or support network, is, as I said, not only more humane but definitely, according to research, it has an impact on the capacity for rehabilitation. So it is a very sensible piece of legislation.

MS DUNDAS (11.48): I rise to speak in support of this bill. The Australian Democrats are strongly supportive of community-based sentencing because if an offender is able to retain links with the workplace, family members and the wider community, they are far less likely to offend again.

Custodial sentences, and lengthy or repeated sentences in particular, often institutionalise and harden offenders so that they are no longer able to integrate back into the community. Community sentences, on the other hand, can even mean that the offender is making a positive contribution to the community while they serve their sentence. Because this bill simplifies and regulates interstate transfers of non-custodial sentences, it should facilitate the retention of links with family and maximise offenders' opportunities for gaining employment.

I commend the requirement for the implications of a transfer to be clearly explained to an offender so they are aware that they will be subject to the laws of their resident jurisdiction if they breach an order and re-sentencing is required. I also support the requirement to consider, before a transfer is approved, the safety of the community and specifically of victims.

I commend the ACT government for volunteering to take the lead alongside New South Wales in implementing this piece of model legislation. I hope its implementation will go smoothly and that the scheme can be rolled out nation-wide.

MRS CROSS (11.50): Mr Speaker, this bill formalises a process that already occurs between all the Australian jurisdictions, whereby offenders with certain non-custodial sentences are able to have their orders supervised and administered informally in a new jurisdiction. A brief trial is to be conducted in conjunction with New South Wales.

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