Page 203 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 December 2008

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the people of the ACT can actually be involved and can see it emerging out of the ground. We also know—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR HARGREAVES: I wish I had some table tennis balls—pop, pop, pop! The thing about it is this: once it is at a certain point in construction you then have to go through, as my colleague Mr Barr said, the commissioning stage. Those guys over there think it is the same as any old building you officially open and then a month later you pop in there. It is not like that. These are secure facilities and once you get to a point where you can say that it is officially opened—it is officially there—it does not mean the doors are open. Only a goose would think that the doors are open. What happens then is that the final tendering with the contractor has to take place. That takes a 20-day period, there is a five-day crash test and then there has to be about a month for the actual officers to go in there and do a dry run. Then you have to start bringing in the prisoners slowly.

Those people opposite would have us open the doors now. That is the implication that they are coming into this chamber with. They are saying, “You have got to a certain point. How about we open the doors and we will pop them all in from BRC?” Mr Speaker, when the Liberal government in Victoria did that when prisoners were moved from Pentridge to Port Phillip Bay, there were 13 deaths in 18 months. I am not going to be responsible for one.

If these people want to be responsible, let them wear it. But I am not going to do it. I am not going to have one prisoner in there until the security system has been proven and crash tested.

MR HANSON: My supplementary question to the minister, and you could say it is a photocopy of the last one of Mr Coe’s; so I hope I do not get—

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson! Ask the question; no preamble.

MR HANSON: Will the government have another official opening when the facility is actually ready to be opened and receive prisoners?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, no.

Schools—Birrigai outdoor school

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the minister for education and concerns Birrigai outdoor school. Noting the significant investment that the ACT education department has made in the Dairy Flat facility at Jerrabomberra wetlands and through Birrigai in the development of very successful environmental land management programs for students as young as preschoolers, can the minister advise the Assembly of the status of and future plans for those programs and the educational-environmental implications of any decision to cease or reduce the educational programs that have been conducted there?

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