Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader
Revelations that children at Ashley Youth Detention Centre are once again facing rolling lockdowns of 23 hours a day are disturbing and distressing. The situation must be addressed by the Rockliff government immediately.
After weeks of constant lockdowns in July and August, the Premier and Minister for Children assured the community they had resolved the staffing issues at AYDC. We now know this claim was false.
Child psychologists have highlighted how sustained lockdowns can cause damaging, long-term effects on children. By allowing this situation to occur repeatedly, the government is yet again failing children at Ashley, and is placing them in harm’s way.
We understand there are genuine challenges in staffing AYDC, but those challenges don’t explain the complacent, bare-minimum approach taken by this government. What we’ve seen so far is the definition of a band-aid solution – and it only took a matter of weeks to for the band-aid to come unstuck.
The Premier and Minister have both said Ashley will still be open for at least another two years. How much of that time will children at the Centre have to spend in isolation due to this government’s youth justice failures?
If children can’t be housed safely at Ashley, the Government needs to be looking at every possible alternative to detention for each child.
It’s time for the Rockliff Government to stop making excuses, and to start acting to make sure the children in their care are safe, not subjected to further harm.