Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2484 ..
MR RATTENBURY: Mrs Kikkert was not here in the last term, but there was quite a bit of debate in the last term about our modelling and what the right size should be for the AMC. As members who were here will recall, the ACT government contracted external expertise, criminologist John Walker, who is well recognised in this field. It is a challenging field, frankly, as I said in my remarks this morning—estimating future population numbers in custody. We contracted out to, frankly, the best person we could find to give us that advice, and the government took that advice. That advice did not identify the sort of increase in the female population that we have experienced here in the ACT.
Mrs Jones: Was he asked?
MR RATTENBURY: Mrs Jones interjects and gets an extra question in, and because I am feeling generous, I will answer it.
MADAM SPEAKER: Members, allow Mr Rattenbury to answer the question.
MR RATTENBURY: Of course, I am not supposed to respond to interjections, and this has been a demonstration of why. Mr Walker was asked to model the numbers for all detainees at the AMC.
Opposition members interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: Members, you should have respect for your own colleagues when they stand to ask a question.
MRS KIKKERT: That is okay. I do not mind a little laughter. Is it reasonable for our prison to have to house women detainees in the management unit indefinitely because there is a lack of dedicated women’s accommodation?
MR RATTENBURY: I can assure the Assembly, as I have before, that there is complete separation of the women in the management unit from any men’s part of the jail. There has been a very clear effort to do that. The Human Rights Commissioner has been briefed on the situation so that we can ensure a degree of external scrutiny in making the accommodation decision that has been made for the AMC.
It is not for an indefinite period. There is work going on at the moment, as I indicated this morning, to provide further short to medium-term solutions. We are also undertaking a longer term strategic assessment of accommodation needs at the AMC.
MRS JONES: Minister, how can you describe the AMC accommodation expansion as completely successful given all of the problems with the women’s accommodation over the past couple of years?