Page 2371 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Support for legal assistance is one of the ways that we can ensure that those who are marginalised are fully included in our society. I commend the CLCs for their contribution to building a society that is safer, stronger and more connected. This year’s budget will support a group of dedicated, hardworking professionals to build on their services for women, for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and for people across Canberra who are facing challenges in life.
Bimberi Youth Justice Centre—safety
MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Children and Youth. Minister, when will you stop making unsubstantiated allegations about the media, which is actually doing your job for you in exposing dangerous conditions in Bimberi for staff and young people?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Lawder for the question but I am not aware that I have made any allegations about the media.
MS LAWDER: Minister, when will you stop attacking staff and detainees for speaking up about the dangerous conditions in Bimberi?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Lawder for the question. I would note that I have repeatedly encouraged anyone who has any concerns or any evidence of wrongdoing within Bimberi to report that to the directorate, to ACT Policing, to the Human Rights Commissioner, to the official visitors, to any of the official bodies who actually have the capacity to investigate those allegations. We do that because we take all of these allegations incredibly seriously.
The wellbeing of children and young people and staff at Bimberi are our number one priority. But I will stand up for the staff at Bimberi who work every day in a difficult and challenging environment to support the rehabilitation of some of the most vulnerable young people in our community. Those staff deserve the support of the Canberra community. They do not deserve to have—
Mr Coe: You don’t think we do?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Your behaviour does not indicate that.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister, when will you stop hiding behind endless bureaucratic responses that fail to address the dangerous conditions in Bimberi?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Kikkert for her ongoing interest in Bimberi. I know that she has taken the time to go out and visit Bimberi Youth Justice Centre. I know that she took the time to play basketball with some young people while she was there. I understand that she has a genuine interest in the wellbeing of the young people at Bimberi.