Correctional Services (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:56): I rise to speak to the Correctional Services (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2018. Obviously, I speak as the member for Hammond, and we have Mobilong Prison in my electorate, which has a long history spanning three decades. It was originally built for 160 inmates and now has room for over 460.

Occasionally, some people say to me, 'Do we have a prison in Murray Bridge?' It is a good thing that people can have that conversation, not knowing that just out the back, north-west of the main town, a prison is operating, offering lots of employment for local prison officers and also keeping our community safe.

I have made many visits to the prison—as a volunteer, I must stress. I have seen a lot of the Kairos ministry meetings held there and I have been there for several events. I must say that I have had some interesting conversations with some of the inmates. The thing we need to do is make sure that people are rehabilitated appropriately in our prisons and, obviously, Mobilong is part of that process.

This bill is another Marshall Liberal government promise that we are delivering on, another election commitment to introduce legislation in this place within the first 100 days. This bill demonstrates the government's zero tolerance for drugs in prisons by seeking to stop drugs entering prisons from the outset by limiting the power and control of not only members of outlaw motorcycle gangs but also their associates.

Over time, traditionally prisons have been a location for members of gangs to recruit new members. These same groups may also attempt to continue their criminal activities and associations whilst in custody. It is now necessary that we obstruct the influence of organised crime groups such as outlaw motorcycle gangs. Not only will prohibiting visitation with prisoners stop gang members from seeking to profit from the introduction and distribution of contraband to prisoners but it will also hinder their criminal interests and enterprises through witness manipulation and intimidation.

Prisons by their nature confine the most complex, challenging and dangerous members of our community, and this bill seeks to increase the safety, security and integrity of the prison system. As I indicated, this is vitally important in my area, around Murray Bridge. The bill will enable the Department for Correctional Services to work closely with South Australia Police to limit the power and control of organised crime groups and sever links between prisoners and their associates.

The bill also introduces drug and alcohol testing for Correctional Services staff, including when there is a suspicion they are under the influence of drugs, when they are an applicant for certain positions in Correctional Services and also on a random basis. The bill applies to all staff and employees of the Department for Correctional Services and G4S officers working at Mount Gambier Prison. It also includes contractors working at a correctional facility—for example, as has recently happened at Mobilong with the expansion, people undertaking maintenance and/or building works at a prison. Similar to testing undertaken at mine sites, if a contractor attending a prison site to undertake works at the prison is requested to undergo a drug and alcohol test, they can refuse but then they must leave the site at once.

This government does not want anyone on our prison sites who may be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. This is a good thing to help make our community safe, especially those of us who have prisons in our community, such as the member for Flinders and the member for Stuart (Port Lincoln and Port Augusta), the member for Mount Gambier (Mount Gambier), me as the member for Hammond and those prisons in urban seats throughout Adelaide. We need to show the community that we are keeping them safe whilst maintaining law and order in the prisons themselves. I think this is excellent legislation and I commend the bill.

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