Page 2442 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 August 2017
been on the agenda since 2014 when all the commissioners for young people said that something like this, a model charter, was needed. I am very pleased that the minister has released this and clearly has made it a commitment to make this charter part of the culture of Bimberi for the staff and the young people and their families.
Also on Tuesday she announced the formation of a new task force of key youth justice stakeholders, co-chaired by the Children and Young People Commissioner. The task force will be reporting regularly to the minister and this is an indication, again, that she is determined to keep her finger on the pulse of what is happening in Bimberi. She also announced that she is committed to a new report on KPIs for Bimberi which will be tabled in the Assembly on a regular basis. I think this is great and I would have to say it is really not consistent with a cover-up.
It does appear that the blueprint for youth justice is improving the situation at Bimberi. The number of young people in detention has reduced significantly since it was introduced in 2011. This very importantly includes Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander young people and we heard on Tuesday that there have been times recently when there have been no Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention at all, which is good and how we would like it to be. Strip searches, assaults and the use of force at Bimberi have all been reduced, again, something to be positive about.
As I said, the minister has repeatedly answered questions in question time about this. She clearly is concerned about this. She clearly is concerned to protect the wellbeing, the physical and mental wellbeing, of staff and detainees. As the minister has pointed out, and I agree, repeating over and over again the same unsubstantiated allegations is not helpful. As she has said, and I agree, if there are allegations, the people should go to the appropriate bodies such as the Human Rights Commission, the police et cetera. These allegations need to be investigated, not just be part of the media cycle.
It is not helpful and it clearly causes considerable stress to the people who are at the centre of these allegations. It cannot be good for the mental health or the wellbeing of the workers or the detainees or the families of these people to have the same allegations going around and around again. As the minister has said, and I agree, if you have allegations, if you have new allegations, there are bodies to report them to that can do more about them than an unsubstantiated allegation on the floor of the Assembly.
Like everyone else, I was concerned when Amnesty International raised concerns. Clearly these need to be responded to and I was pleased to hear what the minister said in terms of the information she has provided to them.
I think that the Leader of the Opposition did make some useful suggestions on actions that the minister and the directorate could take but I am frustrated that the way to do this, he felt, was by a censure motion. If the opposition has positive suggestions I think that is great but why were they not a matter of private members’ business yesterday when they could have been debated and considered as positive ways forward rather than considering this purely as a censure motion of the minister? It