Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1200..
Mr Hargreaves: Bet on it.
MR OSBORNE: Mr Hargreaves interjects and says, "I will." However, I will point out that the time frame did have an impact on the quality of the committee's inquiry. We received far fewer submissions from the community than we did last year and we were unable to obtain answers to questions taken on notice by the minister at his briefing. Nor were we able to obtain comments from the government on initiatives suggested by the community.
As a further comment, the committee noted that this year the government only provided draft budget initiatives without corresponding information about their funding, either through additional revenue or proposed program reductions. The committee found this approach rather frustrating, to say the least, as we were left with a very incomplete picture of the justice and community safety portfolio.
In noting the government's budget theme this year, the committee welcomed funding initiatives aimed at addressing poverty and early intervention. In its draft budget report last year the committee urged the government to direct funding into early intervention and crime prevention. We are pleased that the government has taken this suggestion on board and that dedicated funding has been directed into these areas for the first time. I would remind the government again, at this time, that, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, every dollar spent on early intervention can return up to $11 in savings to the education, health and justice systems.
The committee was pleased to learn that additional funding of $550,000 has become available to the justice and community safety portfolio and we took the opportunity to recommend several projects for the government's consideration. Of these, five projects in keeping with the budget theme were allocated specific dollar amounts. In addition, the committee wishes to highlight four other projects for consideration should funding become available beyond the $550,000 during the 2001-02 financial year. Details of these projects are discussed in detail in the report.
I would like to thank members of my committee for their assistance in compiling this report, and our secretary, Fiona, for the splendid work that she did once again. I commend the report to the Assembly.
MR HARGREAVES (4.54): Thank you very much for your gracious indulgence, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are most welcome.
MR HARGREAVES: I have a couple of comments to make. One of them is about a story in one of our delightful magazines which abounds freely in our valley-I am not sure whether it was the Chronicle or the Valley View-highlighting the committee's recommendations to the government about additional resources to be applied. There was an item which struck me as being somewhat unusual. Not being the author of any press release which would have generated that story, I would like to know where the furphy came from. It was a recommendation that additional police officers would be made available to the southern part of town. I do not recall the recommendation being in there,