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Suspended Sentence Budget Black Hole

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Tags: Suspended Sentences, Justice, Corrections

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

Last week the Liberals confirmed their intention to phase out suspended sentences and replace them with alternatives, despite serious stakeholder concerns, including from the Law Society of Tasmania.

The government said they estimated abolishing suspended sentences will cost Tasmania $10M a year.  But that's completely at odds with advice from the Sentencing Advisory council and the government's own modelling, which puts potential costs at five times that.

The government’s modelling of costs, undertaken by John Walker, costs abolishing suspended sentences at between $15M and $51M and the SAC estimates $30M extra a year, if all their recommendations were implemented, and up to $51M if not.

Neither figure explains the Liberals' projected costs, which just seem to have been plucked from thin air.

The Premier was completely unable to explain this huge cost inconsistency in Parliament this morning. The Liberals continued play the costs down, saying that it would only cost Tasmanians $10M a year, and not for 5 years.

How the government will manage a budget deficit of between $5M and $40M, let alone keep their election commitment that claimed abolishing suspended sentences would be cost neutral, is anyone's guess.

The costs of the Liberals' populist and widely-criticised policy is still as clear as mud. It remains to be seen whether the Premier knows something his own Sentencing Advisory Council does not.