Prison Capacity


Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:37):My question is to the Minister for Correctional Services. Have there been any days during the current financial year when the number of prisoners in our corrections system has not exceeded the approved capacity within the system?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Light Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (14:37): Thank you for the question. If the question is including the surge capacity—it's not excluding—

Mr Gardner: Approved capacity.

The Hon. A. PICCOLO:I will have to get that information for you.

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:37): Supplementary, sir: has the minister requested or received any advice from the department as to the expected cost of the use of police cells and other surge capacity beds this year, given that the use of surge capacity beds is not included in the annual budget?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (LightMinister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (14:38): Yes, I have received some advice on that to date, but I have also received further advice that all the cost will be absorbed by the department by savings in other areas; so there will be no additional cost to the taxpayer.

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:38): Supplementary, sir: given the minister's response just then, that the cost of surge capacity, which last year was $3 million and this year may or may not be more, and that, further, the government has $5 million worth of savings as part of the efficiency dividend and that the minister has ruled out any staff cuts, does the minister believe there is any chance he is going to meet his budget targets for the corrections department?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (LightMinister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (14:38): I thank the honourable member for the question, but I think it's unfair to ask me that question in front of the Treasurer. What I can say is that the department and I are working hard to make sure we get as close to that figure as possible.

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:39): Supplementary.

The SPEAKER: Supplementary; third and final supplementary.

Mr GARDNER: I bow to your wisdom, sir. Understanding that there has been a $2 million increase to the Corrections budget, approved by cabinet, to enable further capital works, as identified in the Public Works Committee in October, are there any other improvements that have been approved by cabinet since 1 July?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (LightMinister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (14:39): What I can say is that all those matters which have been approved by cabinet and have gone to Public Works have been made public. You will be advised of any subsequent application made to cabinet in due course.