Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 4 June 2015) . . Page.. 2100 ..
As a result the government is concerned that the audit does not provide a comprehensive examination of the total rehabilitation service delivery options available. Nevertheless both the government and I welcome the Auditor-General’s attention to the issue of rehabilitation, and I am always interested in where government service delivery can be improved. I see the Auditor-General’s role as being a useful tool towards continuous improvement and recognise the value in these reports across the whole of the ACT government.
I am exploring with ACT Corrective Services the service delivery concerns raised by the audit office. I want to ensure we are providing the best possible rehabilitation opportunities for detainees and it is important to understand that ACT Corrective Services is committed to doing this while also facing challenging circumstances due to the increased population pressures and separation issues.
The audit office has identified 10 recommendations which it considers necessary to improve the delivery of rehabilitation services to detainees in the AMC. I am pleased at the small number of targeted recommendations, because I believe this allows the government and its agencies to focus on key issues identified by an audit and provide clarity as to the work that needs to be done.
The government has agreed to all recommendations and has asked ACT Corrective Services to undertake work to progress these recommendations. It is important to note that some issues raised by the audit office were already on the government’s agenda and, therefore, work was already underway in a number of areas referenced within the recommendations. For instance, data improvement issues as referenced across five recommendations are being addressed as part of the long-term project to improve ACT Corrective Services’ information management systems.
Work has commenced to examine industry options for the AMC as proposed at recommendation 2. This work included a visit in November 2014 by me and senior corrections officials to prison industry facilities in New South Wales. A discussion paper is already being prepared to provide an understanding of the scope of any industry initiatives for the AMC.
Some recommendations will be actioned quickly; for example, recommendation 5, which relates to definitions. Others are more complex and resource intensive and will inevitably take some time to fully implement. This is particularly evident for recommendation 1, which relates to the development of an overarching rehabilitative framework.
I think this is a good example of the complexities of providing services in a prison environment and I would like to highlight this for members. As a 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology report into rehabilitation in prison notes, the future challenges for offender rehabilitation providers in Australia relate to the need to ensure that a high standard of program delivery is maintained and that new programs are developed for particular offender groups, including those who identify as from Indigenous cultural backgrounds. Crucial to these challenges is the enhancement of interjurisdictional resource pooling and information sharing. On face value, the