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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 335..


Burglaries

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for police. Minister, according to your statement in the Valley View on the burglary rate across Canberra and criticising the use of the Productivity Commission's figures, you said that you had updated figures and that they were encouraging. You said that there was a 19 per cent reduction in burglary. Yet, if there were 8,678 burglaries in 1999-2000 and there have been 4,848 so far this financial year, there would appear to be not a 19 per cent reduction but an increase of 11 per cent on a pro rata basis. Figures released by the Acting Chief Police Officer for the ACT show that the burglary rate for the year so far does, in fact, exceed the totals for both 1996-97 and 1997-98. Minister, why have you been misleading the ACT public over the burglary statistics?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, based on information provided by the police, and it is the same information that I used in this place in the first sitting week of the year, the trend data would indicate that there is a 19 per cent reduction in burglaries and a 32 per cent reduction in motor theft offences that will be achieved over the financial year 2000-2001. We stand by those figures. The Acting Chief Police Officer for the ACT, Ben McDevitt, said in his press conference yesterday that they believed the 19 per cent may well become 20 per cent. They have put in place a series of programs, starting with Operation Anchorage, to make sure that the trend is met.

MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, what was the truthful effect of the work of the last strike force into burglaries? What sort of target is a 20 per cent reduction? Is this an admission of defeat on your part and a recognition that your government has lost the plot as far as community safety is concerned?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, this government has not lost the plot on community safety. This is the government that put forward $4.2 million to fund Task Force Dilute and Task Force Handbrake in this year's budget to look at these problems in the community. The effect of Dilute was to reduce the number of burglaries in the period that it operated. With the confidence of the success of Dilute, the police tell me that they believe 20 per cent is the achievable reduction in the number of burglaries this financial year as against the number of burglaries that occurred last year.

This does raise the question. I think Mr Humphries, the Chief Minister, caught Mr Stanhope out on the radio. Mr Stanhope very quickly backed out on a bidding war and the extra police numbers, because Labor can't tell us where they will get the money from. They refuse to release any targets and they refuse to tell anyone how they will fund these activities.

Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation-relocation

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts. Minister, it has been reported in the media that the Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation is to relocate to Canberra Airport's Brindabella Park. The government has a stated intention to revitalise Civic, yet CTEC is moving to a small industrial park some distance from the commercial and public centre of town. Given that there is no public transport to the airport, that two of the major participatory events run by the


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