Page 758 - Week 02 - Thursday, 23 February 2012

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MR COE: Would you please also take on notice a scheduled plan of works to be undertaken on Nudurr Drive in Palmerston?

MS GALLAGHER: I am very happy to, Mr Speaker.

ACT Corrective Services—recruitment

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Corrections. Minister, could you update the Assembly on the importance of the recent graduation ceremony for officers from Corrective Services?

DR BOURKE: I thank the member for his question. On Friday, 3 February I attended my first ACT Corrective Services recruit graduation and awards ceremony. I was excited to have the privilege of welcoming new staff in this organisation and of being able to acknowledge the good deeds of other staff.

Corrections is an area where people of goodwill can achieve so much in improving the lives of those who come into their care. It is about rebuilding lives. There is great potential for people and agencies to work together to make a real and lasting change in the lives of detainees. I understand that this is a non-negotiable goal of ACT Corrective Services.

Officers undergo a rigorous recruitment and training process. Corrections is an area that is poorly understood in the general community. Through ACT Corrective Services, the government makes an investment in bringing new officers into the fold and in keeping our existing officers well trained. I know that the skills required of Corrective Services officers greatly exceed what many in the community understand are their roles. Many Australians still have a 1950s view of how jails should work. In the 21st century, Corrective Services officers are responsible public servants who must have the strength of character to handle very difficult clients with integrity, and the communication skills necessary to bring about change in people’s lives. They are expected to protect the community and also to help change the life paths of fellow citizens who have lost their way.

In my view, the health of any jail is only as good as the relationship between its officers and detainees. Officers need to be role models for those in custody.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, for the benefit of those others and people who are interested in this, what is the main role of a Corrective Services officer at the AMC?

DR BOURKE: I thank the member for his question. In the 21st century Corrective Services officers are much more than turnkeys. As I said, they need to be role models for those in their custody, even the people in their custody who may be demanding or even aggressive to manage. This is not about being nice to avoid conflict. What it is

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