Community Based Sentences (Transfer) Bill 2012

Written on the 11 November 2012

I am pleased to be able to rise to speak on the Community Based Sentences (Transfer) Bill 2012, and I am pleased that members opposite support the bill. It is not a very complicated bill; however, it is still important.

 



The bill provides for the transfer and registration of community-based sentences between states and territories that have enacted similar legislation as applied in this bill. For the purpose of the bill, a community-based sentence is a community correction order under the Sentencing Act 1991.

 


I know Ms Pennicuik holds strong views on rehabilitation, and there is no doubt that in some circumstances, where it is appropriate, rehabilitation should be and is undertaken by offenders. It should be noted that this bill applies only to adult offenders, so much of the rehabilitation she spoke of is pertinent to the juvenile justice area. I know the Minister for Community Services is doing an enormous amount in relation to supporting young offenders to ensure that they do not get on the so-called slippery slope of committing additional crimes as they advance in years. It is important to note that this bill applies to adult offenders only and that it does not apply to parole orders, as these are already transferable under the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act 1983.

 


Essentially when the government was elected in 2010 it made no apology to the Victorian community that it was going to have a strong stance on law and order. The government has proved that it has conducted that commitment extremely successfully, and it is continuing to do so. I congratulate the ministers involved -- the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and the Minister for Corrections -- for enabling that to occur. The law and order issue is part of the suite of programs the coalition government is committed to acting on.

 


As Ms Pennicuik and other members have already said, there are jurisdictions in which these transfers have already been undertaken. The whole process was discussed at a national level some years ago, in 2007, following a successful trial of community-based sentence transfers between New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. It is my understanding that Tasmania has also enacted similar legislation to what we are discussing today and is a participating jurisdiction, along with the other two jurisdictions referred to.
 

 

As various members also highlighted, a number of criteria must be met in order for the transfer to be applied in participating jurisdictions.
 

 

The offender must consent to the transfer; there must be a corresponding order in the other jurisdiction; the offender must be able to comply with the order in that jurisdiction; and additionally the sentence must be safely, efficiently and effectively administered in the other jurisdiction.

 


Once those criteria have been met and applied, it enables the transfer of those small numbers -- I think it was Mr O'Brien who said there are currently around 50 offenders per year -- for whom a transfer will apply in the jurisdictions we would be dealing with. The transfer enables those offenders to return to the states where they reside, where they have further opportunities for employment or where they have support, which was also mentioned. They are fairly common-sense reasons for offenders to be transferred and conduct their community-based sentence if, as I mentioned, that is applicable in the other jurisdiction.
 

 

A number of community-based programs are currently being undertaken. In my own electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region there have been some very good examples of community work undertaken by corrections work crews. My electorate takes in the beautiful Port Phillip Bay, and a series of very effective clean-up programs have been conducted in that area. The member for Sandringham in the other place also cited that corrections work crews have undertaken the clean-up of an old courthouse in the Sandringham district. That is another effective program where community work can be undertaken and where offenders can undertake their obligations and act on them in relation to their offence.

 


As I said at the outset, it is a simple bill. I am pleased that members opposite are providing their support, and with those words I commend the bill to the house.


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