The Opposition's weekend detention plan would impose heavy new costs on taxpayers without serving any useful purpose, Attorney General Joe Berinson said today.
"Schemes such as home detention, work and development orders, and community service orders already achieve the same results as this proposal, without requiring new facilities and costs," he said.
"They are also available to country areas, which presumably would be left out of the Opposition scheme.
"Mrs Edwardes proposes building new detention centres, presumably to be closed during the week, presumably staffed by part-time workers on penalty rates, and clearly unavailable in country areas unless she plans to build dozens of them.
"The existing home detention scheme already caters for the same group of offenders - those sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment or less - enabling them to work and support their families during the week, but spend time on the weekend doing community work.
"Offenders must first serve one-third of their sentence in prison, and the Government is currently looking at extending the scheme to remove the prison component altogether in appropriate cases.
"The stark difference between the Government and the Opposition is that we are seeking to remove minor offenders from the contaminating risks of detention, while requiring them to pay their debt to society in a useful way.
"The Opposition is going in the opposite direction seeking to detain even more offenders, and with expensive new facilities.
"The thrust of our approach to minor offenders should be to have them do unpaid work for the community, without burdening the public with the cost of detaining them for short periods."