Rachel Stephen-Smith should refer the disturbing allegations of systemic violence, drugs and a toxic culture at Bimberi Youth Detention Centre to ACT Policing for immediate investigation, Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said today.
“News of the sickening systemic behaviour inside Bimberi is in fact illegal if allegations of drug use and systemic violence are found to be true,” Mrs Kikkert said.
“It is imperative that Minister Stephen-Smith refer these matters to ACT Policing for investigation immediately, if she has not done so already.
“As a territory we do not tolerate this behaviour. Children, young people and staff will continue to live in this dangerous, toxic and illegal environment unless the Minister acts swiftly and decisively.
“Sadly, all we are seeing is a government that has lost its way when it comes to providing protection and care for the most vulnerable in our territory.
“Allegations of violence and a poisonous working culture are not new. The Opposition and numerous whistleblowers have for years persistently alerted Minister Stephen-Smith and her predecessors to the toxic situation, urging her and the ACT Government to resolve systemic issues.
“It was pressure from the Opposition that resulted in a Human Rights Commission report in 2011 which made more than 200 recommendations. What the Government seems slow to understand is that its continued resistance to act on these recommendations has meant more children and staff are suffering in the ACT’s youth detention system.
“Minister Stephen-Smith needs to step up and take responsibility before more people are harmed. The first step she should take is to refer these damning allegations to the police for immediate investigation,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.