Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2341 ..
damage being done to the community by the amount of burglaries that were going on. It was a tremendous result. Everybody won. But we do not see that support for the police these days and we do not see them being given the tools, as society changes and as the nature of the causes of the problems changes, to make sure they have the effective regime that they need in order to save us and protect us all, as we would desire.
There is still grave concern out in the community and amongst officers that the work that they often do is not rewarded with the right outcome in the court system. There is still much of a perception out there that, simply because we have what appears to be a weak judiciary in terms of the sentences they hand out, there are morale problems amongst the police as to whether or not what they do is getting the outcomes they believe they deserve. We are all subject to the judiciary, and they will make the decisions and award them as they do.
We had the incredibly embarrassing case the other day—with a front-page headline and Mr Corbell saying that it would never happen again—that the DPP, under-resourced and unable to do its job properly, were making mistakes. They truly wore the wrath of the judge of the day, who simply said, “It is unacceptable that cases cannot proceed because we simply cannot arrange for the relevant witness to be available.” How do the officers who worked hard to put together the case feel when they see this sort of mistake happening? This goes to management and the lack of management from the minister, the cabinet and the government.
There are some issues to be addressed here. Any government that simply offers as a solution to a 13 per cent increase in sexual assaults that people should write a submission to the review of the Liquor Act is a government that is bereft of ideas, a government that has run its race, a government that certainly does not deserve to be returned at the next election and a minister who certainly does not deserve to be in charge of the judicial and enforcement systems of this territory.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.26): There are a number of issues that I want to touch on and one in particular is the new prison. We have talked a lot about infrastructure in this budget and this is once again an example of a failure to manage. This prison project started out as a $110 million project that was going to hold 374 prisoners. We finally get the numbers and it is actually a $131 million project for 300 prisoners. So we have seen this massive blow-out in the costs—not just in the headline figure of $110 million to $131 million but in the actual cost for what we are getting. We have gone from 374 beds to 300 and a number of the other facilities have actually been scaled down to the extent that now we are looking at $425,000 per bed, per housed prisoner.
We did a comparison of prisons around the country that have been built in the last several years and the only one that we could find that was more expensive on a per bed basis was, I believe, in Derby in remote Western Australia. We can only speculate as to some of the reasons why prisons in Derby would be so expensive. I imagine the remoteness would have something to do with it. I imagine perhaps the cost of building in the resources rich state of WA may have something else to do with it.