Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 13, 2023


Forensic Science SA

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:12): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General on Forensic Science SA.

Leave granted.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: In the Budget and Finance Committee last year in a question regarding the facilities, Professor Wilson-Wilde said:

Our issues are varied. The mortuary has exceeded capacity, so we have an offsite facility to assist with the body storage facility. The electrical board is full, so we can no longer add additional equipment. The amount of real estate space we have in that little area within the building is exceedingly tight for the people and equipment that are required to provide the service.

It's an old building. It doesn't meet current guidelines for WHS, and that proposes difficulties with some of the staff who have come into the facility. It doesn't have a lot of the facilities that a modern building would have, so that means it's not a pleasant working space for some of our staff to work in or a pleasant operating environment. Innovation is limited because we don't have any space to adopt [new] technologies.

My questions are:

1. Could the Attorney please provide an update on the current status of Forensic SA's facilities and progress of the new building?

2. When will it be completed?

3. Have any concerns regarding the risks to staff safety and security with the current location been raised with the Attorney?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:14): I thank the honourable member for her question. I have spoken about the current Forensic Science SA's building in this place before. The lease is up sometime in the next few years and, as I have spoken about in this chamber before, options are being investigated about what might be the most appropriate home for Forensic SA into the future.

That work does continue into where, if there was a change in location, that might be and what a new facility might look like should that happen. I toured Forensic SA in recent months and was exceptionally impressed by the standard of professionalism. I know that many of the areas in which Forensic SA is involved are not just nation leading but are leaders around the globe in terms of the science that is used and how that work is done.

Certainly, there are constraints at the Divett Place location, in terms of what can be expanded and what can be added to, and they certainly form part of the work that is being done in relation to where Forensic SA might be located, should that be vacated at the end of the lease, which I think is about 2027, but I am happy to check.