Page 2502 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

such as family life, work or study. As I explained when I introduced the Crimes (Sentencing) Bill in 2005, the government has opted for a form of periodic detention linked to a sentence of imprisonment. A court may set a period of periodic detention if a sentence of imprisonment is imposed.

The bill I present today simplifies the procedures for managing periodic detention and addresses breaches of periodic detention. ACT Corrective Services has the responsibility of implementing the periodic detention; the Sentence Administration Board has the responsibility of addressing any breaches of periodic detention and, if necessary, recommitting the offender to full-time imprisonment.

As I said, the bill requires the Sentence Administration Board to supervise critical aspects of periodic detention, parole and release on licence, such as breaches and amendment of conditions. Consistent with these changes, the bill introduces modern provisions for the board’s proceedings and inquiries. The aim of the new provisions is to enable the board to increase its workload through a more flexible division of labour and clearer decision-making obligations. The supervision of probation, community service and rehabilitation is all under the auspices of good behaviour orders, consistent with the structure of these orders in the Crimes (Sentencing) Bill. The bill introduces consistent procedures for dealing with breaches of good behaviour.

I note that Mr Stefaniak introduced some bills relevant to sentencing last week. I believe the government’s bill stands in complete contrast to his bills. The government’s bill is the result of three years of hard work, three years of consultation, three years of working out the best approach for the Australian Capital Territory, not what is best for New South Wales or any other jurisdiction. Perhaps the easiest characterisation of the opposition’s bills is “the fish John West rejected”. Hollow assertions of being tough on crime do not solve problems and do not reduce crime itself. In contrast, the government’s bill is aimed at reducing crime and providing a rigorous framework to implement management and enforce sentences. The laws, the penalties and the obligations of a sentence mean nothing if we cannot enforce sentences consistently and lawfully. I look forward to debating Mr Stefaniak on these and other issues in the Assembly.

I would like to take the opportunity to commend the officers of ACT Corrective Services as being an essential part of reducing crime in the ACT. Corrections officers have a deep understanding of criminal behaviour, how to manage criminal behaviour and of offenders themselves. I believe ACT Corrective Services will benefit greatly from this bill. Officers managing community-based sentences, for example, will be able to use one piece of law instead of several. Transport officers will have a single source of authority to take custody of and transport offenders.

Part three of the bill provides the crucial link for the ACT between the court’s jurisdiction to determine and impose sentences of imprisonment and the executive government’s role to carry out and supervise the sentence. Officers in charge of the remand centre and the prison will have a clear authority to allocate remandees or offenders to an appropriate facility, whether it is in the ACT or New South Wales. To achieve this, the bill creates a clear distinction between the role of the courts to remand and sentence people and the role of executive government to take these people into custody and determine where they should be detained.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .