Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3989 ..
I said that because it is not possible to make the simple comparison that was asserted in the question.
For the benefit of members, let me quote from the Chief Police Officer. This can be found at page 53 of the JACS standing committee estimates and budget report from 2021. The Chief Police Officer said:
We talk about police numbers all the time. It is very difficult to compare the territory with any other jurisdiction in the country because our population is fairly compacted to a very small part of the territory. I always hear people talk about the numbers of police in a place like Tasmania. The fact is it is three hours between their biggest cities. Here it is literally 10 minutes, and I can move patrols around very quickly.
Simple jurisdictional comparisons to police numbers and/or funding do not account for the tyranny of distance faced by all other states and territories. We have a more compact city, as the Chief Police Officer has said, and this allows ACT Policing to deploy resources to address the challenges being faced. What this government has been doing is providing resources and enabling ACT Policing to determine their best use. This approach has allowed ACT police to free up sworn officers to undertake more direct frontline duties.
In this year’s annual reports hearings ACT Policing advised that the overall FTE staffing level in ACT Policing has increased by approximately 55 police, 13 PSOs and 39 unsworn positions over the past 10 years. More than half of the growth in ACT Policing unsworn FTEs derives from transferring unsworn members into operational support roles that were historically performed by police across a range of areas, including intelligence, judicial operations, family violence and vulnerable people. This, together with the introduction of PSOs into the ACT Watch House, allows police to better shift their focus to frontline operational policing duties. Changes such as this are not easily accounted for in simple jurisdictional comparisons.
So let me reiterate: the ACT government has resourced and will continue to resource ACT Policing. In 2019 there was a significant boost to funding and staff. More than 60 positions were provided. The new purchase agreement, just signed, as I mentioned earlier, with the AFP provides base funding—and I will say that again: base funding—of $800 million over four years. We will continue working with the Chief Police Officer, ACT Policing and the AFPA to resource ACT Policing. This is the approach that has been taken in the past and one that will continue in the next budget round—the very same approach the Canberra Liberals have voted against in every budget.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (5.20): I would like to thank Mr Hanson for bringing this back. As they say, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics—and that was an excellent set of statistics. I am not sure exactly what Mr Hanson’s point was. Is he seeking for the ACT to spend $4 billion on policing services here in Canberra in order to match something on the scale of New South Wales? I do not think that would be entirely appropriate. Or is he seeking to do a per capita comparison between a