Page 267 - Week 01 - Thursday, 14 February 2008

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MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Pratt?

MR PRATT: Minister, why did you ignore the signs that FireLink, which was deemed urgent for rollout no later than bushfire season 2004-05 and which then missed subsequent new deadlines, was a failure for so long?

MR CORBELL: I think I have answered the question, Mr Speaker.

Alexander Maconochie Centre

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Attorney-General. Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the government’s progress to recruit staff for the Alexander Maconochie Centre and what the benefits of this recruitment will be?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question.

Mr Seselja: Another Simon attack. Tell them to send Andrew out!

MR CORBELL: He did not even mention you, Mr Seselja. I am amazed you are so touchy. I think Mr Seselja is walking around with a big red dot on his back. It is either Brendan, or it is Richard, or it is somebody.

MR SPEAKER: Come back to the subject matter of the question, Mr Corbell.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It has obviously got into his psyche there already. Mr Speaker, around 75 new custodial officers will be recruited for the Alexander Maconochie Centre. In addition to redesigning their recruitment material and application processes, ACT Corrective Services has hooked up with the live in Canberra campaign, and we have seen a series of information stalls run as part of that campaign promoting the employment opportunities at the new prison.

In addition, new promotional material has been presented in advertisements in a range of newspapers interstate and even overseas in New Zealand. In response to this, over 250 telephone inquiries have been received, and about 50 of those have been from New Zealand. There has been a roadshow around regional New South Wales. In particular, information evenings have been held in Yass, Young, Cootamundra and Wagga Wagga. A very excellent response to those has been achieved.

Of course, Mr Speaker, this is all about helping those people who rely most on the services of government. If we make sure that we properly recruit and train custodial officers for the prison, it means we can deliver those services that are most important to those people who are incarcerated for committing crimes. Mr Speaker, this program has proven to be extremely successful, and it will mean, of course, that we will have a significant increase in employment in this particular area here in the ACT.

The first course of 20 officers commenced training on 15 October, and I was very pleased to be at their graduation ceremony which occurred on 20 December last year. Another course of eight officers is underway right now and will finish on 29 February. A third course is scheduled to start on 3 March and to finish on 9 March. There are another 37 applicants selected for this course. Another course will start in May.

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