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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2437 ..

incidents, both times as the aggressor. To provide some further context, I note that the number of custody days in 2016-17 was around 31 per cent higher than in 2015-16, an issue the taskforce will be looking into.

I have nothing to hide here. As I have said, I am committed to being as transparent as I possibly can about the operation of our youth justice system, and Bimberi in particular. I have made two ministerial statements on youth justice since May and spoken directly with the media about Bimberi on more than a dozen occasions.

In responding to clause 2(g), I move on to a broader discussion of the actions I have taken as minister since my appointment, and particularly since the allegations referred to in the motion were first received. Madam Speaker, as you can imagine, I was extremely concerned when I started receiving emails making very serious allegations about wrongdoing at Bimberi. I had already met once with the Official Visitor for Children and Young People, Narelle Hargreaves, and had read and tabled the official visitor’s annual report for 2015-16, which provides a very positive summary including that the official visitors have continually complimented staff and management at Bimberi, noting the support and understanding shown for the role of official visitors. The report also states that overall, the official visitors have clearly expressed their satisfaction with the level and quality of care provided to detainees at Bimberi.

In reviewing the 2015-16 annual report, I need to correct something I said yesterday. Yesterday I stated that the official visitors had been to Bimberi on 46 occasions in 2015-16; the annual report states that, in fact, they made 50 visits. I also met with the Public Advocate and Children and Young People Commissioner, Jodie Griffiths-Cook, on 27 February. At that time, to my recollection, and according to a review of my notes from that meeting, she did not raise any concerns with me about systemic or specific issues within Bimberi. However, I invited her to call me directly if she had any concerns about any matter within my portfolios that she felt the directorate was not adequately addressing. I also subsequently called the Human Rights Commissioner and provided her with my number.

As members are aware, I said in my statement in May that a task force would be established to take stock of progress at the halfway point of the government’s 10-year youth justice blueprint. I provided some further detail on that in my statement on Tuesday, including that Ms Griffiths-Cook had agreed to co-chair the task force, and three particular areas of focus I have asked it to look at. I should be clear that this task force was not simply part of the directorate’s business as usual forward agenda. This is a piece of work that I initiated and, in part, it was in response to the allegations received by email about Bimberi.

I am pleased Ms Griffiths-Cook will co-chair the task force, and I have also welcomed, as I said earlier, the Human Rights Commissioner’s separate investigation of some specific issues. Indeed, I also met with the Human Rights Commissioner, the Public Advocate and the Discrimination Health Services and Disability and Community Services Commissioner specifically about Bimberi on 8 May. As I have said earlier, I have also met with the CPSU and I have had a more recent meeting with both official visitors on 23 June.

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