Page 4656 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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The Renewables Innovation Hub was launched late last year to attract, connect and develop the relevant skill sets, knowhow and networks within the ACT’s thriving renewable energy industry. In August I announced the outcomes of a $1.2 million funding scheme that will support eight local businesses, many of which are based at the hub, to help develop and commercialise new technology such as new household battery controls, hydrogen fuel cells and solar radiation forecasting.

2017 also saw leading international companies CWP Renewables, Global Power Generation and Siemens establish a corporate footprint in Canberra, joining existing Canberra industry leaders including Neoen, Reposit Power and Windlab. Around 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects around the world are now being managed from Canberra.

The $25 million next generation energy storage grants program continued to support the rollout of solar battery storage in Canberra homes and businesses. More than 400 systems will be installed by the end of 2017, with each system collecting critical data to inform industry research and development and further position Canberra as a world leader in this sunrise industry. It is expected that around 5,000 systems will be installed by 2020.

Let me turn to the area of corrections. The parliamentary agreement commits government to reduce recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025. ACT Corrective Services plays a critical role in helping to rehabilitate offenders and reduce recidivism by providing detainees with the opportunity to gain transferable qualifications, skills and opportunities that will assist post-release transition to the community.

The Alexander Maconochie Centre delivered new accommodation units during the last term of government on time and under budget. The savings have been used to develop prison industries. These industries provide employment and training opportunities for detainees, which assist in rehabilitation and also contribute to successful reintegration into the community. The employment opportunities that we have delivered in the past year have been in the bakery, laundry, hairdressing and barbering, chemical distribution and construction skill set training. The bakery became operational on 4 October 2017 and currently employs seven female detainees, recognising the need for female-specific employment in the AMC.

The expanded laundry facility employs six men to wash almost double the amount of laundry as previously, as well as including the facility to repair linen. The recycling bay employs eight men involved in bailing cardboard, separating comingle recycling from landfill and capturing organic waste. This activity is a significant contributor to reducing the AMC’s carbon footprint and provides savings in waste management.

The government released an evaluation of the extended throughcare program, which showed promising results and some areas for improvement. ACT Corrective Services is using this evidence to further refine the program with the aim of reducing recidivism.

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