Page 5354 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee

Report 3

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.31): I present the following report:

Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee—Report 3—Inquiry into the delay in the commencement of operations at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, dated 19 November 2009, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

The opening of the Alexander Maconochie Centre in September last year was a matter of considerable fanfare. Since then it has been a matter of considerable embarrassment for the Stanhope government because it has become clear that, at the time of the opening, the Alexander Maconochie Centre was nowhere near ready to be opened.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety, at the initial request of Mr Hanson, inquired into the circumstances surrounding the delay in the commencement of operations at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, because of the wide-scale community concern about the impacts that this was having. There was wide-scale community concern about the impacts, particularly, on prisoners and remandees, the staff at ACT corrections facilities and the overall perception that the community had been sold a pup during the election campaign, because the AMC was opened with such fanfare and it took another six months after that for the AMC to actually come into operation.

Over the period, especially over the Christmas period, there were considerable concerns in relation to safety of prisoners and remandees and there were a number of incidents that appear to have arisen because of the adverse situation in which people, prisoners and remandees, were being housed, especially at the BRC. We know that for a very long time this has been an issue and a cause for concern for members of the community, but it was increasingly so during the summer months in the run-up to the opening of the AMC.

The AMC was the largest capital works project that we have seen in the ACT for a very long time. This inquiry showed that there were lots of things wrong with the process. When the government started to receive adverse comment in relation to the failure to commence operations at the AMC, the Attorney-General made a big song and dance about the fact that it was absolutely and utterly beyond the government’s control and that it was all down to the security contractor. He said it in the paper, it was reported on the news and he said that he looked forward to this inquiry because it would clear the air and show quite definitely that, in fact, this was all down to the responsibility of the security contractor. But what we have here today is a unanimous report from all of the parties associated with this that show there was a litany of errors. We have 25 findings in relation to the opening and 11 specific recommendations so that we can learn for the future.

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