Government fails to recognise Bimberi child and staff welfare issues

The ACT Labor-Greens Government has turned its back on mounting child and staff welfare issues inside the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, failing to support an Opposition censure motion against Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith this morning, Shadow Minister for Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said today.

“The Canberra Liberals brought forward this motion today because Ms Stephen-Smith has failed to take adequate action in response to a litany of incidents at Bimberi. However, the Government failed to recognise the seriousness of the incidents, by voting against the censure motion in the Assembly today,” Mrs Kikkert said.

“As part of the motion, the Canberra Liberals recommended a number of practical measures the Government could adopt to alleviate the situation at Bimberi:

 Provide a confidential telephone number, managed by someone outside of Government, that staff can contact about issues of welfare and with the operations of the centre.

 Ensure that the operations of cameras at Bimberi are logged so there can be audits to see if they’ve been turned off.

 Facilitating the official visitor to have confidential off-site meetings, rather than at meetings taking place at Bimberi.

 The Government should frequently report to the Assembly or relevant Assembly Committee about occasions when lock downs occur. The Government should also report at what times detainees are allowed out of their cells each morning; and

 Regularly publish the recidivism rates for detainees, and also the number of former Bimberi detainees that are in AMC or have served time in AMC.

 “Unfortunately, the Labor-Greens Government demonstrated today that it does not hold the welfare of children and staff in high regard. Nonetheless, the Opposition remains resolute to

ensure the highest standards of care for young people and staff at Bimberi and have today with the censure motion essentially put Ms Stephen-Smith on notice,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.