Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 8 December 2010) . . Page.. 5996 ..
It is to this government’s absolute shame that we are having this debate here today 20 months after the opening of this facility. Again, it is their urge to open things just to say, “Look, haven’t we done a good job?” It is about the input model. It is always about the inputs: “We spent more; therefore it must be better.” You should have taken a bit more time and thought these processes out and set it up properly. Perhaps, Chief Minister, given that you are having a review of the administrative arrangements, you might even consider shifting the portfolio to somebody more competent.
We had a minister say in this place today: “I am hearing things I have only just heard today. I am shocked.” Why didn’t you ask the question? This is not something that popped up yesterday. This is something that has been bubbling along from the start in terms of making sure that shifts are fully staffed, making sure that the facility is used to its best advantage. Ms Hunter, I think we all agree that we should make sure we give those that get incarcerated there the opportunity to return to society and be useful members of the society. But right from the start there were no teachers; we were not using the facilities. There were a whole range of things that were put in place at great expense to the community that were never used—never used.
The minister had excuse after excuse. That is all we get from this minister—excuse after excuse. I would urge you to look at what you are doing here and take this one seriously. We do find, in places where people are incarcerated, that there is extra pressure, there is additional pressure. And they are pressures that sometimes are expressed as violence or self-harm. We all need to take this incredibly seriously. The outcome that is Ms Burch’s new standard—that you need to have a death for a judicial inquiry—is a very sad outcome. If we have a death, perhaps then we might get a judicial inquiry, and that would be even worse. Prevention is better than cure and there should be a judicial inquiry established today. (Time expired.)
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.26): I thank Mrs Dunne for bringing this motion forward today and I thank her for the significant amount of work that she has done in listening to the serious concerns of many people associated with Bimberi. Mrs Dunne has taken the time to speak to anyone who has concerns, to listen to those concerns and to bring those concerns to the attention of the Assembly. It is to her great credit that she has chosen to bring this forward and that she has prosecuted it in such a comprehensive way.
There is no doubt that Mrs Dunne and others have made such a strong case that there appears to be agreement, even tacit agreement from the government, that the management of Bimberi at the moment is not up to scratch. One thing we appear to have established as part of this debate today is that there are serious problems at Bimberi. It is a very poor reflection on this government and this minister that things have got so out of control in such a short space of time.
The government spent a lot of money on this new facility. They spend a lot of money on managing it day to day, but I do not recall there being these kinds of serious and systematic concerns raised about the previous facility. We agreed that that facility was inadequate, that the building was inadequate and that there were problems with it.