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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 August 2005) . . Page.. 3051 ..

The selection process of the final site will balance the requirements of young people to live in a community environment—that assists their rehabilitation—as well as provide for the safety and security of the public. Ideally, the location of the facility should allow the facility to be screened from view, but maintain visual links to the community from within, should be sufficiently large to accommodate indoor and outdoor recreation and program areas and emphasise that children and young people in detention have a continuing involvement in their community. Importantly, the Human Rights Commissioner will play a crucial role in the design of the new centre, following her work in identifying problems at the current Quamby facility. This new centre must promote a sense of normality in the lives of the young people, whilst balancing their human rights with the rights of the wider community.

Amenities to be incorporated into the new centre will include accommodation, educational and vocational program areas, indoor and outdoor recreation areas, and administration and health services. The new facility will accommodate both male and female young people aged from 10 years to 18 years who are either remandees or serving a sentence. It is imperative, in a rehabilitative sense, that young people in detention are able to maintain contact with parents and other family members. It therefore should be located where it is accessible by public transport.

Following the determination of a preferred site in September, design work will then commence in consultation with the local community. The consultation will be completed with the lodgment of a development application and preliminary assessment. I look forward to continuing this conversation with the community to ensure that the needs of the community are balanced with the needs of government to provide a modern juvenile detention centre which ensures that young people living there maintain their community links while focussing on their rehabilitation throughout their period of detention.

MS MacDONALD: I have a supplementary question. Minister, are you aware of the opposition’s comments in relation to the new youth detention centre?

MS GALLAGHER: Sadly, the opposition’s comments in this area have been largely narrow-minded and unbalanced. In particular, the shadow minister for youth, Mr Seselja, has made his views on the rehabilitation of youth very clear. Twice, on 3 and 4 August, he put out media releases suggesting that the new youth detention centre will actually be a prison. In those releases he said, “When is a prison not a prison? When the government appears to be saying that it is a youth detention centre.” Also, on 3 August he described residents of Quamby as inmates.

Youth detention centres are not prisons and their residents are not inmates. Whilst punishment is a factor of their operation, their overriding purpose is rehabilitation to ensure that young residents do not find themselves in prisons later in life. I have enormous concerns about Mr Seselja’s rhetoric on this issue. I hope that it is due to his inexperience and not choosing his words carefully. However, I think that that it is symptomatic of his and his party’s views on the way that young people in detention should be treated.

Mr Seselja has already voiced his support for Fyshwick as the preferred site for the new detention centre, essentially because it is away from people. Mr Seselja is clearly

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