Page 3377 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 17 August 2011

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MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, given that you have already announced this pilot and given that the pilot school is in the electorate of Brindabella, have you received any communication at all from the shadow minister for disability and the shadow minister for education on this matter?

MS BURCH: I can say that I have not received any correspondence or sign of interest from the shadow minister for education or the shadow minister for disability.

Bimberi Youth Justice Centre—use of restraints

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the minister for children and young people. Minister, I refer to the recent report on Bimberi by the Human Rights Commission. From page 326, I quote a young person:

It’s like if there is a young boy who hasn’t had many visits or phone calls, then gets locked down a lot and doesn’t get any exercise, he might just snap and hit a worker, then he is just punished more and led around in chains … He’s going to think the system is just there to hurt him more, not help him.

Minster, in addressing this type of issue, recommendation 14.15, which described it as urgent, states:

The ACT Government urgently amend the Children and Young People Act 2008 to authorise the use of ‘time out’ in a controlled way where the de-escalation techniques and voluntary time out are used first where possible and the period of time out is strictly limited. A policy and procedure for the use of time out should also be developed as soon as possible.

Minister, what have you done as a matter of urgency to address this urgent recommendation? If nothing, why not?

MS BURCH: The report holds a number of recommendations. As I have said here before, we have implemented a task force which comprises experts across youth justice policy and practice. We have implemented, in house, a team that will implement each and all of these recommendations over time. We are moving on these recommendations, and I remind those opposite that I have said here that we will report in full on each and every recommendation in this report.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, how long have you been aware of this type of treatment of the young people at Bimberi? Why did it take an inquiry for you to be reminded that this is urgent? Seeing as how this is urgent, why have you not prioritised the urgency of this issue?

MS BURCH: I consider the safety and wellbeing of every child and resident in Bimberi and staff member at Bimberi to be a matter of priority, which is why I have begun implementing change from the latter part of late last year. The government will provide a comprehensive response to the report by the end of September or early October.

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