Youth Justice System


Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:32:26): My question is to the Minister for Correctional Services. Can the minister advise the house, following the coronial inquest handed down last week into the death in custody in 2011 of Mr Shane Rene Blunden, aged 18 years, which of the Deputy Coroner's 15 recommendations will the government implement to reduce the risk of future preventable deaths?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Light—Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (14:32:49): I thank the honourable member for his question. As the member mentioned, the report was handed down last week. My understanding, from reading the report for the first time, was that a number of those recommendations he made we have implemented. They were a result of our submissions and evidence to the coronial inquiry—so they've been implemented. There are some which the agency is now working through. We are required to table our response to parliament. When the report is ready, I'll be happy to advise the member, but, certainly, we take any recommendation from the Coroner very seriously. As I said, a number of those have been implemented, and the Coroner has also acknowledged that, and there is a number which we'll work through to see how we implement them.

Mr GARDNER (14:33:36): Can the minister describe how many of the nine recommendations that are relevant to the minister's corrections portfolio and the other recommendation in relation to the police portfolio have been implemented and which are remaining to be implemented?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (14:33:53): I thank the honourable member for his question. What I can advise is that a number of the recommendations dealt with the transfer and the flow of information between agencies to make sure we had the most appropriate information available to us to ensure, particularly younger prisoners—in this case an 18 year old—are properly managed into the system. Those arrangements are now in place and the Coroner has acknowledged those in his—

Mr Gardner interjecting:

The Hon. A. PICCOLO: If you let me get to the question—in terms of which ones remain, I'd need to check the exact number. In terms of subject matter, I note they are not the exact ones, but what I can say is that the advice to the agency is that at this point in time we are very keen to make sure that all of them are implemented to the best of our ability.

Mr GARDNER: Supplementary to the Minister for Health: can the Minister for Health identify which of the five recommendations relevant to the prison health service have been considered and are being implemented?

The Hon. J.J. SNELLING (14:34:51): What normally happens with these coronial inquiries is I bring a report back to the house and I would refer the member to the report.

Mr GARDNER (14:35:06): My question is to the Minister for Youth. Can the minister advise the house why records of Mr Blunden's extensive history of self-harm and suicide attempts were not transferred from the youth justice agency to the corrections department prior to his death in 2011?

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON ( Ramsay—Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Minister for Social Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Youth, Minister for Volunteers) (14:35:24): I will need to take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER (14:35:25): Supplementary, sir: have any reforms been undertaken in the past 3½ years that would have enabled the youth justice department to put the safety of the young offender who becomes part of the adult corrections department ahead of privacy concerns and thereby allow material to be transferred from Youth Justice to Corrections?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (14:35:56): I thank the honourable member for his question. As I mentioned a bit earlier, I did advise that one of the major issues the Coroner raised was the transfer of information. I can advise that my agency, the department, with the department DCSI, last year put in place a memorandum of administrative arrangement which enables us, the two agencies, to share information. As the member has quite rightly pointed out, the initial issue was ranked regarding privacy—how we get around that. Obviously, we have worked through that and that arrangement now enables the appropriate information to be shared between agencies.

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:36:30): Supplementary: in relation to the memorandum of understanding between DCSI and DCS, is the minister satisfied that the intent of that memorandum of understanding has been met through the transfer of information through cases since that time last year where it was implemented?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (14:36:50): I thank the honourable member for his question. I have no advice to suggest that is not the case.

Mr GARDNER (14:36:58): My question is to the Minister for Youth. When is the government's long-promised new youth justice administration bill going to be released?

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON (14:37:08): I continue to consult with various people, including the Aboriginal Legal Rights group and the guardian for children. We will look at a draft bill in the very near future.

Mr GARDNER (14:37:25): Supplementary: is the draft youth justice administration bill, as envisaged by the minister, going to set out in legislation the confirmation that safety of an individual is going to take priority over privacy concerns, and is it going to be complementary to the memorandum of understanding just described by the minister for corrections?

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON (14:37:52): Obviously, when we are doing consultation, this is one of the issues that can be raised. I think at the heart, when we are reviewing a bill like the youth justice administration bill, it is important for us to remember what we are trying to achieve with youth justice: we're trying to turn lives around. For those who have come through the system, we're trying to prevent people going onto the corrections system. I think that, obviously, safety should be the priority and I'll consider that as part of the bill.

Mr GARDNER (14:38:27): Supplementary: can the minister give us some sort of time frame as to when this bill will be presented to the public for consideration in the parliament for tabling given that, in her previous answer to the house, she identified that this bill had been on the cards since before she was even appointed to this portfolio? How long is it going to take?

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON (14:38:47): I expect that the bill will be introduced to parliament later in the year.

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (14:38:52): Supplementary: why has it taken the minister her entire ministerial career to get this bill prepared, given that it was already on the cards and she has just outlined how important and urgent it apparently is?

Mr Pengilly interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Finniss is called to order.

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON (14:39:09): As I recently tipped over one year of being a minister—and fantastic to be a part of a great government here in South Australia—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The leader is warned for the second and final time, and so, alas, is the Treasurer.

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON: When government was prorogued in 2014, obviously this came off the Notice Paper.I thought it was important to begin the consultation with key stakeholders.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON: As the new minister, I felt that it was important to begin my consultation with key stakeholders, looking at the draft bill. I take it very seriously. There are several issues that are raised with many different sectors who would like to see different things included in the bill. I take that quite seriously, and I continue my consultation.

Mr MARSHALL (Dunstan—Leader of the Opposition) (14:40:18): Supplementary: is the minister suggesting that a bill has already been presented to the parliament, and if so, can she tell us what the difference is between the bill that was brought to the parliament previously and what she is currently consulting on?

Mr Goldsworthy interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Kavel is called to order, as the Deputy Premier has been beseeching me to do for all of question time.

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON (14:40:48): I think it would be most appropriate for me to get that time line clear and come back to the house.

Mr GARDNER (14:41:00): My question is to the Minister for Youth. Why did it take an assault on two staff members in October of last year for 19-year-old Aaron Jade Grenfell to be removed from juvenile justice and placed in an adult prison, despite 23 earlier incidents of alleged assault, attempted assault and other fights at Cavan that saw him remain in juvenile justice after the age of 18?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (14:41:33): Mr Speaker, I previously held that portfolio and I'm aware that even though there are a number of people 18 and over in the youth justice system, they actually do require a court order to transfer them. If somebody has been sentenced to the youth justice system they actually then require an appropriate court order to shift them to an adult prison. So, the short answer is, you need to bring a matter before the court and the court approve that person being transferred to an adult prison.

Mr GARDNER (14:42:14): My supplementary is to the Minister for Youth. How many adults serving in our juvenile justice facilities at the moment have had breaches of discipline for violent attacks against staff or other inmates brought against them?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (14:42:34): Mr Speaker, since I—

Mr Gardner: How is this your portfolio?

Mr Marshall: How can you possibly answer this question?

The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can't. I'm about to say that. Given—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. A. PICCOLO: But the question was put to me.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The minister will be seated. It's a convention of parliamentary question time that any minister can answer on behalf of the government. I won't put up with this braying by the leader about which minister is going to answer questions. If I have one more interjection on that basis someone will be tossed.

Mr GARDNER: Point of order, sir. If 'bleating' is unparliamentary, is not 'braying' also unparliamentary?

The SPEAKER: Yes, you're right. I warn myself. Minister.

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON (14:43:33): The number of people aged 18 years or older in the youth training centre as at 28 April are four people.

Mr GARDNER (14:43:41): Supplementary: in the last 12 months how many incidents have there been of infractions of discipline requiring a report—for somebody who is of the age of majority for an incident of violence against a staff member or somebody else in the juvenile justice facility—on the books?

The Hon. Z.L. BETTISON (14:44:02): Mr Speaker, I'll take that on notice.

The SPEAKER: The member for Little Para.

Mr GARDNER: A final supplementary, sir?

The SPEAKER: No; we'll come back to you.