Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1130 ..

how the ACT operates, other states are putting their money where their mouths are and are willing to take action on these issues. The Liberal-National government in New South Wales are leading the way for prisons to be phone-free zones as they continue with a trial of mobile phone jamming technology. The tactics used by New South Wales are cutting through, as are increased searches in jails. The new technology offers a greater focus on stopping contraband on its way into the jail, and this is paying off.

In another serious breach of security publicised in November last year, a highly sophisticated alleged drug syndicate of up to six individuals allegedly involved two prisoners at the ACT jail. I emphasise that convicted criminals already serving time for their crimes are continuing their behaviour behind bars. This is no one-off accidental case; this is a highly organised group allegedly boasting about smuggling up to $20,000 worth of contraband into the jail in one visit. I suspect this is the tip of the iceberg and that the problem runs much deeper and further than can be outlined today.

The practice of smuggling contraband items of all kinds in and out of the ACT jail is prolific and it continues on a daily basis. This practice undermines the overall security of the jail and creates a culture in the facility that will continue if we do not do something about it. At the very least, the minister should be able to measure which policies are working and which are not. Clearly there is much to be done, and my motion calls on the government to take the issue seriously and be proactive in a consistent way.

It is not my intention to interfere with or compromise the security of any operations at the AMC. However, members should have the ability to request information on any new strategies on an individual basis. Hence I am calling on the government to provide details of new policies on request. A new strategy to detect and deter incoming contraband is needed immediately, and I urge members to act accordingly and support this motion today. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Justice, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform) (3.27): I thank the member for Brindabella for his interest in the operation of the Alexander Maconochie Centre and his attention to the range of issues that are relevant to the management of Corrective Services in the ACT.

Let me first say, however, that it is not my intention to support the motion—and I have circulated an amendment which I will speak to shortly—because I think the current format of Mr Wall’s motion is simply not supportable. That is not because I find Mr Wall’s motion offensive, over the top or even too political; mostly it is because it is unnecessary, out of date and overly simplistic.

The fact that contraband is an issue in the AMC, as it is an issue in all other prisons in Australia, is neither news nor a surprise. In the relatively short time that I have held this portfolio, I have been as open as I can be with the Assembly and the broader community about the challenges we face in the difficult environment of the AMC.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video