Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 July 2008) . . Page.. 2495 ..
parents who continue caring for or have contact with their young child under six years old and who are not enrolled at school in the detention place, where this is in the best interests of the young child. This is without doubt a positive.
I also agree that the clarifying issues surrounding powers of search and seizure at the detention place in order to ensure a safe detention place are certainly needed, as are clear processes for addressing behaviour breaches through disciplinary processes.
In relation to the new youth detention facility at Bimberi, we certainly hope that it will be a success. We have supported this facility being built. It is clear to me that we need to have a system that looks to take young offenders and genuinely rehabilitate them rather than their ending up in the adult corrections system. That is how the new youth corrections system will be judged.
It is disappointing—and we have raised this on a number of occasions—that even after we build the new facility we do not see any expected reduction in recidivism as a result. I would certainly hope, and I think the community would certainly expect, that, as a result of building a facility which is more appropriate for young offenders—and we are spending a significant amount of taxpayers’ money on this new facility—fewer of them would be reoffending, that the rehabilitation would be more significant and that far fewer young offenders would end up in the adult justice system.
I am not quite sure why the government does not have that as a goal or why in the projections going forward that we would not see it coming down. Certainly, after the new facility has been built, we would expect that but we have not seen any expectation on the part of the government that that indeed will be the case.
In summary, we do support the bill. It is a very complex piece of legislation and no doubt there will be parts of it that, in practice, do not work, as is the case with virtually all large pieces of legislation. I think it would be incumbent of course on oppositions and governments in future to keep a close eye on the working of it.
The final point to make is that it is not just about what is in the legislation. The legislation provides a framework for dealing with children and young people in a number of different forums. In particular in the issues of youth justice and in care and protection, there is much more to it than having the right legislative framework. We need to make sure that the resourcing is there; we need to make sure that the programs are targeted in the way that they should be; and we need to make sure that those workers who are dealing with this most difficult issue, referring now particularly to care and protection, are adequately resourced and are adequately supported so that, when the community does need to pick up the pieces as it so often does, we are well equipped to do so and do so well.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (4.28), in reply: I welcome speakers’ contributions to the debate today. I appreciate the work that people have put into this legislation and the extent of members’ interest in it. It is a very significant piece of legislation. It is the largest bill, I believe, that has come before the Assembly, dealing with perhaps the most complex