Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3988 ..
recurrent expenditure per person in population, which is $444. So, again, we are the lowest per capita by some measure.
How that rolls out on the ground is that, when you actually look at the number of staff and sworn police officers, we again see that we are the lowest in total terms, both in sworn but also in total. Then, in terms of operational staff per 100,000, again, we are the lowest, at 219. As we followed up in annual reports hearings this year, we found out that, in actual fact, the number of police in the annual report this year is less than in the annual report of a decade ago. We have about a dozen fewer uniformed police on the ground now than there were 10 years ago.
What we also find in RoGS is that the ACT is the only jurisdiction in Australia to have recorded a negative average growth rate in real recurrent expenditure from 2016-17 to 2020-21. Every other jurisdiction in Australia recorded positive growth in real recurrent expenditure. There are real impacts on the ground, and we have heard the comments from the Australian Federal Police Association about what that means for their members, so we understand what this means.
I am not actually trying to litigate the argument here. I am just saying that we have to be honest about what we say in here. If Mr Gentleman wants to say something in response to a question, he must be truthful. He must not assert facts that are not true. That is open to Mr Braddock too. He might think that having low funding for police is a good thing. We know that he has said in this place that the more police you have, potentially that leads to more crime. So one would presume that he thinks that having the lowest funded police force in Australia is a good thing. I do not know. He will let us know, no doubt.
All I am asking Mr Gentleman to do is accept the facts. It is in the RoGS. It is in black and white. If he wants to justify that, he can. He can make those arguments, but he cannot come in here and say something that, based on the evidence, is simply not true. So all I am saying is: correct the record, apologise, move on and we will have the substantive debate on another day about whether it is a good thing or not.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.16): Successive police officers, including the CPO, have informed numerous estimates and annual report hearings that you cannot accurately compare resourcing in the ACT with other jurisdictions. In responding to Mr Cain in question time it was clear that I was refuting the assertion in the question, given the advice from the Chief Police Officer, regarding the types of comparisons that the Canberra Liberals incorrectly like to make.
I have reviewed Assembly on demand footage. Anyone else who reviews this will clearly see that I said—and let me put it in the Hansard again:
I reject Mr Cain’s assertion that they are the lowest funded police force in the country.