Correctional Services, Prison Facilities

06 Jun 2006 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Correctional Services a question about future infrastructure needs.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: On 10 May this year I asked the minister about future correctional services needs.

In her reply, the minister stated:

Various options are being explored to establish the most costeffective means of meeting future demand and rehabilitation needs for custodial facilities. It is important that we do not see piecemeal work.

In a Channel 9 interview, the minister stated:

The government is not looking for a quick fix but looking for longer-term solutions.

The case for a rebuild of the women’s prison was raised as early as the 2001-02 annual report of the Department for Correctional Services (DCS) in which the previous CEO, Mr John Paget, on page six, stated:

During the reporting period, the department also commenced work on an outline business case for a public/private partnership proposal for a replacement Adelaide women’s prison. It is anticipated that, in conjunction with Treasury, this work will continue into 2002-03.

My office has sought some information on this issue. Under freedom of information, we requested access to briefings and the like for a business case for a new prison, which is referred to in the Department for Correctional Service’s 2004-05 annual report. We have been refused access to those documents on the basis that they were specifically prepared for cabinet. The schedule indicates that one document from the Chief Executive, Department for Correctional Services, to the minister is entitled ‘Future prison infrastructure business case briefing’.

The second document (a cabinet submission), dated 20 October 2005 from the Minister for Correctional Services to cabinet, is entitled, ‘DCS future infrastructure needs— Business case for infrastructure of site’. The final document in the list, dated 10 November last year, is a minute from the Minister for Correctional Services to cabinet entitled ‘Correctional services infrastructure final business case’. My questions to the minister are:

1. How much longer must we wait for the government to provide the public with an answer as to how the future infrastructure needs will be addressed?

2. Is she concerned at the ongoing nature of the Adelaide Women’s Prison?

3. Does the scope include the women’s prison, and are the delays related in any way to additional site costs?

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO (Minister for Correctional Services): First, I place on the record my disappointment at the behaviour of the honourable member. It is quite normal for shadow spokespeople to seek briefings and visits within their portfolio area. However, during her visit to the Northfield complex and without seeking permission, the honourable member invited the media to enter the grounds of Northfield, which, as I said, was disappointing because, of course, it is a high-security area.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: I have nothing to hide, but normally one seeks permission to enable someone to enter a high-security area.

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: I have absolutely nothing to hide. Not only was the honourable member able to visit but also other people were able to visit, including my caucus subcommittee members. I am disappointed with her behaviour and that of the member for Bragg in the other place.

Members interjecting:


The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: I have already responded in this place in relation to future prison infrastructure. Of course, the women’s prison is part of that assessment. It is now being assessed. I will have some options to consider when the final business case is put to me. It should be no surprise to the honourable member that through FOI she cannot get cabinet in-confidence documents.

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting:

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: Well, you mentioned it in your explanation—so why is it a surprise to you? It is cabinet in confidence. I have responded already to that question. I am not looking for a quick fix. We need to look at things for the long term.

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: How long do we have to wait?

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: I have already answered that question.