Thursday 10 September, 2020

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (15:04): I seek leave to make a ministerial statement.

Leave granted.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: Today, the South Australian Ombudsman, Mr Wayne Lines, has published his final report into the death in custody of Mr Wayne Fella Morrison. Mr Morrison passed away at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on 26 September—

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. The member for West Torrens on a point of order.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: I apologise for interrupting the minister, sir, but no ministerial statement has been distributed to members as is the common practice of the house.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: I may assist, sir; I have it right here.

The SPEAKER: I note the point of order. I think that the matter has been immediately rectified.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: Today, the South Australian Ombudsman, Mr Wayne Lines, has published his final report into the death in custody of Mr Wayne Fella Morrison. Mr Morrison passed away at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on 26 September 2016 following an incident at the Yatala Labour Prison on 23 September 2016.

The Ombudsman's final report follows a lengthy and comprehensive investigation that commenced in 2016. There is absolutely no question that the safety and wellbeing of our prisoners in the custody of the Department for Correctional Services is paramount. The department has previously publicly acknowledged the pain and the grief experienced by the family of Mr Morrison, and I also provide them with my sincere condolences.

Given the publishing of the report, I am of the view that it is important to highlight that, throughout the investigation, a thorough, genuine and proactive response was provided by the Chief Executive of the Department for Correctional Services personally and as part of the agency response.

To date, the Department for Correctional Services has provided support for 16 of the 17 recommendations, and a review of one recommendation is in progress. It is noted by the Ombudsman in his report that the Department for Correctional Services has made significant steps towards meeting the majority of his recommendations with some changes already implemented or in the process of being implemented. To this end, I also take the opportunity to highlight some of the improvements made by the Marshall Liberal government relevant to the Ombudsman's final report.

Firstly, the significant reform as part of the Better Prisons Program: Better Prisons has delivered the largest investment in the prison system in many years that is ultimately aimed at improving the quality, safety and efficiency of the state's prison system. This includes construction and commission of the highest number of beds in the metropolitan area for over a decade, with a further 270 beds and critical supporting infrastructure at Yatala Labour Prison and 40 beds at the Adelaide Women's Prison.

The construction program also includes a new state-of-the-art prisoner admission building, which will replace the aged and not fit for purpose facility referenced in the Ombudsman's report. Additionally, since the beginning of this year the Adelaide Remand Centre has become the primary place of admission for male remandees in the Greater Adelaide area. The site has put in place an agreement with the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement to ensure that all newly admitted Aboriginal prisoners have access to the Aboriginal Visitors Scheme. The final report also includes a recommendation with regard to body-worn cameras. The Adelaide Remand Centre has already introduced this technology for some aspects of their operations.

Since coming into office, the Marshall Liberal government has not only committed to investing in additional high-security accommodation at the Yatala Labour Prison, we have also committed $10 million to upgrading the security systems to a modern digital platform. This includes upgrading and expanding the deployment of CCTV across the site. This measure enhances the safety and security of the site for staff, visitors and prisoners. This house would also note the relevance to this matter within the Correctional Services (Accountability and Other Measures) Amendment Bill 2020.

As there remain significant commonalities between the matters under consideration in the related coronial inquest and the matters considered by the Ombudsman, I must respect the ongoing coronial inquest. As such, I am unable to provide any further comment with regard to the Ombudsman's findings, and for the same reason the Department for Correctional Services is also restricted with regard to a response to the publication of the report.

I can assure parliament this issue is of the highest importance to the government and the Department for Correctional Services. All efforts have been taken to participate in the investigation process.