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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2429 ..

Thursday, 3 August 2017

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Minister for Disability, Children and Youth

Motion of censure

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.00), by leave: I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) censures the Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, for:

(a) failing to act to protect the physical and mental welfare of the staff and detainees of the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre;

(b) failing to respond adequately to an increasing body of concerns about the operation of the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre;

(c) seeking to silence legitimate criticism by staff and detainees of the operation of Bimberi; and

(d) resigning to the view that violence will continue to be a feature of life at Bimberi; and

(2) notes:

(a) in March this year, information emerged in The Canberra Times of a serious incident in May 2016 at Bimberi in which three young people assaulted youth workers, three of whom were sent to hospital for treatment. The response of the Minister was that the attack was an “isolated incident”;

(b) further Canberra Times’ articles in March reported low staff morale and concerns about management, staff shortages and lack of adequate training, union concerns, incidents in October and November 2016 which led to two staff being stood down, staff being gagged and feeling uncomfortable talking to management about problems at the centre, and the Community Services Directorate seeking out the whistleblowers who were talking to the media;

(c) in May, the Minister tabled a statement about youth justice and said Bimberi had an integrated management system and a training plan, the Human Rights Commission was looking into all matters raised recently, and a charter of rights was coming. The Canberra Times carried a further report about staff tensions, high absenteeism, and concerns the Government was pouring resources into a review without addressing underlying causes of the troubled conditions in Bimberi;

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