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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 296 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

The orders that will be affected by the scheme in this jurisdiction are: community-based sentences, recognisances, home detention orders and periodic detention orders. The government has accordingly drafted this bill as model legislation for implementation in all Australian states and territories.

The two main priorities of the bill are, firstly, to promote freedom of movement and maximisation of access to suitable services and support; and, secondly, to increase an offender's accountability to the conditions of their sentence.

Under this scheme, the ACT will be able to transfer the supervision and administration of the sentence to a new jurisdiction on a voluntary basis. The offender will then be managed in this new jurisdiction as if a court of the new jurisdiction had imposed a sentence, except for purposes of appeal or review.

All details will, as a matter of course, be maintained on a register and all transfer requests will be the responsibility of a local authority. For a transfer to proceed, all criteria must be satisfied and the local authority must consent. The local authority will have the discretionary powers to reject a transfer request.

Mr Speaker, this bill initiates a pilot project. Like other pilot projects, such as the nurse practitioner scheme, this one gives the ACT the opportunity to lead the way in cutting edge legislative schemes. As such, Mr Speaker, it is a worthy project which, in my view, is deserving of the support of this Assembly. I support the spirit and intent of this legislation.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (11.52): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I table a revised explanatory memorandum. The revised explanatory memorandum picks up a number of points that were raised by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee and incorporates them as recommended by the committee into the explanatory memorandum. I thank the Scrutiny of Bills Committee for suggestions it has made. As I say, the government was happy to accept them.

I thank members for their support of this bill. It is important legislation that will lead to improved community and victim safety by formalising the process of transferring the supervision and administration of community-based sentences. The legislation will fill a gap in the national corrective services framework. While nationally legislated schemes for the transfer of prisoners and parole orders have been in place for a number of years, jurisdictions have had to rely upon informal processes for supervising offenders serving interstate community-based sentences.

Currently, the jurisdiction in which an offender serving an interstate community-based sentence resides is unable to lodge breach action and must request the sentencing jurisdiction to do so. This has potentially serious implications for community safety, victims and offenders.

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