Page 1625 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 12 May 2015

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As schools age, investments in capital upgrades ensure that the learning spaces for our children allow modern teaching practices to be applied. Canberra’s public schooling system has long set the national standard for providing high quality education. As the latest addition to the system, Coombs primary will provide a positive, contemporary learning environment staffed with highly qualified and dedicated teachers and staff.

All public schools value and encourage engagement by parents, carers and community members. One of the anchor policies, parental engagement, sees that schools are indeed connected to communities, families and carers and to organisations that make up our local community. Not only are we building new schools in areas where they are needed but we are continuing to invest in school upgrades and maintenance to ensure that existing schools are also looked after and provide a quality learning environment.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—security breaches

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Justice. Minister, why was a prisoner at the Alexander Maconochie Centre able to update his social media accounts from his prison cell between 10 April and 1 May of this year?

MR RATTENBURY: It appears that contraband did get into the jail. I think we have been perfectly up-front in admitting that there are problems with contraband getting into the jail from time to time. Equally, I have been very clear that Corrective Services staff in the ACT are working very hard to deter and prevent contraband getting into the jail. There are a range of measures in place to do that, from both physical security searches through to intelligence-led operations.

Corrective Services have been quite successful in intercepting a range of contraband coming into the jail in recent times, but there are other times when contraband does succeed in getting into the jail and this appears to be one of those cases.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, why have prisoners at the AMC been able to update their social media pages, post videos of prison fights and even run drug rings using smuggled phones at the prison?

MR RATTENBURY: Largely it is the same answer that I just gave. With improving technology, it is possible to have a mobile phone device that can upload these sorts of images. Corrective Services continues to work hard to prevent this sort of contraband getting into the jail, but it is an issue that jails are facing across the country. I saw some media comments from Mr Wall being dismissive of this, but it is quite clear—and we have seen it even at the Goulburn supermax jail, where there are reports of prisoners having access to mobile phones—that these are challenges that prison authorities face across this country. That is why I am working with corrective services ministers from around the country to try and identify technological solutions to enhance the security measures that are already in place.

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