Page 2483 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 August 2017
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Milligan for his question. As I think he is aware, the policy responsibility for the Ngunnawal bush healing farm lies with the minister for health. I can advise that I understand that there will be some announcement on that shortly. I do not want to speak on behalf of the minister for health on that matter. So I will take that question on notice on her behalf.
MR MILLIGAN: When will the intended operators of the Ngunnawal bush healing farm be made available?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take that question on notice.
MRS DUNNE: Minister, will there be Indigenous leadership in the delivery of the services at the Ngunnawal bush healing farm?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her supplementary question. I realise I did not respond before to Mr Milligan’s question about my involvement. I have been briefed regularly on the update, but I have not had a brief for some little while. I can say that ACT Health is working closely with the Ngunnawal bush healing farm advisory board to finalise a non-residential day program to run over a period of approximately 10 weeks targeting 10 to 12 clients and subject to final negotiations with service providers, as I indicated in the previous question that I took on notice.
The advisory board will continue to meet frequently to ensure that the bush healing farm is best placed to succeed. ACT Health continues to work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. In relation specifically to Mrs Dunne’s question, I understand that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership is very important in this matter and that will be the case. I will take the detail of the question on notice.
Alexander Maconochie Centre—women’s accommodation
MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Corrections. Minister, I refer to your ministerial statement today in which you stated “the relatively sudden increase in female detainee numbers is a development for which we were unable to plan”. In 2003 the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics released a report highlighting the massive growth in the number of women in Australian prisons since 1995. In 2016 the Vera Institute of Justice released a report on the 14-fold increase in the population of women in US prisons since 1970. These are just two of the many national and international reports on the growth in the number of women in prisons. You also stated that last year’s expansion of AMC accommodation was “successful”. However, the dedicated women’s accommodation in the AMC comprises 29 beds, while we have had up to 45 women in the prison. The prison is having to rely on the management unit and health unit for further women’s accommodation. Minister, did you look at the national and international evidence which shows that the number of women in prisons is growing at a rapid rate and, if you did, why were you not able to plan for this increase in the number of women detainees?