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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1136 ..

detainees itself, through self-help and mutual support, is the principal means for promoting personal change through abstinence. Regrettably, a minority of detainees persist in drug-seeking behaviour, and this often sees pressure placed on family and friends to provide them with illicit substances during visits as well as other contraband.

Preventing contraband entry cannot be undertaken in isolation by any one agency. Corrective Services therefore works closely with ACT Policing in support of drug and contraband interdiction measures, including providing assistance with the execution of search warrants at the AMC and with the ongoing exchange of information and intelligence.

The Assembly may recall there were media reports late last year regarding a number of search warrants executed in the AMC in May last year. That operation was the result of ongoing collaboration and intelligence sharing between ACT Corrective Services and the police. That operation demonstrates the significant efforts that ACT Corrective Services make, in partnership with the police, to ensure that contraband entry to the AMC is prevented and, if it does occur, that offenders are detected and prosecuted.

As Mr Rattenbury has highlighted in his comments, the government is aware of the mobile phone jamming trial being undertaken at the Lithgow Correctional Centre in New South Wales. Having been a minister for corrective services, I was party to a number of these discussions at the corrective services ministers council in relation to this issue in previous years.

As Minister Rattenbury has indicated, the commencement of the trial took in excess of 10 years to progress after many complicated technical consultation and approval requirements. These would be similarly required for any additional trial in the context of the ACT. I understand that the reporting and evaluation of the Lithgow trial continues and that, until such time as the Australian Communications and Media Authority has reviewed the findings of the trial, there can be no conclusions drawn from it; nor is it likely that there will be further trials permitted.

There is a need to weigh the actual and potential dangers posed by mobile phone use in prison against the potential danger to mobile telephone services and emergency call services in the community posed by the use of jammers before we reach further conclusions about it. The government take the issue seriously, and we continue to support ACT Corrective Services and ACT Policing in their endeavours to address contraband, including the issue of contraband mobile phones. Government members will be supporting Mr Rattenbury’s amendment.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (3.47): I will speak to the amendment and close the debate. The purpose of the motion that I brought here today was not to simply hold a review or have an inquiry into whether or not the problem exists. I think all members of this Assembly acknowledge that problems do exist in running the ACT’s jail. But more importantly, it was the intent to have a look at what we are doing, what is working and where the gaps might exist and then to look at other jurisdictions, both across the country and internationally, to see what some of the best practices are in combating the issue of contraband entering our jails.

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