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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5117 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

the Corrections Reform Amendment Bill, we can grasp the nettle and say, "Okay, you're in prison as punishment. You're not in prison to be punished, you are in prison to serve your time and pay back the community. At the same time it's the opportunity for you to rehabilitate yourself."This will only work when those people are motivated, if we give them the opportunity to see a light at the end of the tunnel. If they can see a way out of the revolving door that is corrections they will often self-motivate and change their own behaviour.

Last week I had a round table to look at the bill. All sorts of individuals with an interest attended-from VOCAL through to staff from the courts, prisoners' groups, public servants, the Sentence Administration Board and some of the chaplains who serve in our prisons. They all liked the intent and direction of the bill. They queried a few things and have given me some work to do, some amendments. I am happy to refine the bill. That's the whole purpose of having it out there: so people can discuss it over an adequate period. I am thankful for the support of the community. From talking with everyone from released prisoners through to bishops in the church, I get the sense that it's time to make a difference. It's time to say we have had enough of the revolving door and it's time we looked at the root causes and addressed them, but it's also time we did something for those that get caught up in the system.

So, I thank members for their support. This bill will go through the in-principle stage and then be adjourned so that the community has more time for consultation on it. Hopefully it will come back fairly early in the new year so that we can discuss it cognately with the government's bill. I ask that the government make sure its bill is in early so the Assembly has a reasonable time to do that. If not, I'm willing to forge ahead and hope that I am again supported by the crossbenchers. This legislation will send a very clear message to those setting up our corrections system and jail, what it is we want. We do not want another Long Bay or another Goulburn. We can already send people to Cooma or Junee if we want to. Our city, our society, wants a corrections system that will reform and rehabilitate and make a difference. That is what this bill attempts to do. I thank members for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clause 1.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Griffin Centre

MS TUCKER (4.24): I move:

That this Assembly noting:

(1) the failure of the previous and current governments to take a strategic approach to the provision of community services and to accommodation for those services

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