Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 March 2005) . . Page.. 1077 ..
Corrective services—prison project
MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Attorney-General. Can the Attorney give members an update on the progress of the project to construct the territory’s state-of-the-art corrections facility, the Alexander Maconochie Centre; and is the project running to budget?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I am very aware of Ms Porter’s long interest in and involvement with issues around restorative justice in the ACT. Of course, that matches very well with our determination to ensure that the Alexander Maconochie Centre, our prison, will be a state-of-the-art corrections facility and will incorporate all aspects of rehabilitation of prisoners in the ACT.
It was with some pleasure that I was able to announce last week that we had moved to the next phase of construction or delivery to the ACT of a prison which will, as we know, be known as the Alexander Maconochie Centre. We have now appointed design consultants to design the prison. The design consultancy is a joint venture between Codd Stenders, a leading Brisbane firm that has had very significant experience in the construction of correctional facilities, and their Canberra partner, May Russell. In fact, this particular joint venture has been responsible for the development or design of correctional facilities such as the Capricornia Correctional Centre, the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and the Junee Correctional Centre, among many others.
It was also pleasing that a substantial proportion indeed—around 75 per cent—of the subconsultants to the joint venture are local Canberra firms. It is particularly pleasing that Canberra business has proven to be so competitive in what was a tough national competition for the job of designing the ACT prison. The contract is valued at around $7.5 million and has been broadly welcomed by the business community as a real commitment by the government to this major project, which will have significant benefits for the ACT construction industry and for the economy generally. At this stage it is still hoped that we will be able to open the first part of the prison by the middle of 2007. That will be reasonably tough but the expectation is that we will be opening the prison in 2007.
Going to the last part of Ms Porter’s question in relation to the budget, it is interesting that, within the budget as approved in March 2003, there was a proportion of that which was identified as going to the design phase and to consultancies—the major of the consultancies being, of course, the appointment of the design consultants. In relation to where we are up to with this particular project at this stage, it is running very much to budget, which is very pleasing having regard for the escalator which is, and always has been, very much part and parcel of every capital works project in the ACT.
Another particularly significant part of the project is, of course, the design considerations that these particular consultants must have regard for, acknowledging our determination to build the state-of-the-art facility. We are very genuine about our commitment to ensuring that the Alexander Maconochie Centre will be the first prison constructed in Australia through the prism of the operation of a human rights act. That does have significant implications for the design of this particular prison.