Page 932 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2023

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the Chief Police Officer lost his patience and came out and made the comments he did a few weeks ago that this government has begrudgingly acknowledged that there is a problem.

I will remind members how dire this has become. This started as a problem when this government cut the budget of ACT Policing—just like the hospital budget that was cut. What happened is that, when we went through the 2012 election, there was a dirty deal done, a power-sharing agreement done, by the Labor Party and the Greens. Since then we have seen a decade of decline across the board and, in particular, in police.

They cut $15 million out of the budget in 2013. If you do not believe me, let me quote from a press release, which says:

The government will rip more than $15 million in savings from the territory’s police force, prompting union fears over the jobs of up to 45 officers.

The $15.36 million, which the government assures will not affect the force’s front line, will be deducted from ACT Policing’s annual budget of $150 million over the next four years.

The government has been accused of hiding the cuts in Tuesday’s budget—

sneaky of them, was it not?—

which was sold as providing a ‘Safe and Secure Canberra’ and bringing ‘More Police and Firefighters’.

… the Australian Federal Police Association has warned the cuts, while having minimal impact at first, would begin to bite in the final two years.

Of course, the government denied that. But we have the proof in the pudding now, having listened to what the Chief Police Officer has said.

At the time, the AFPA Chief Executive Dennis Gellatly said:

ACT Policing could not be expected to provide the same level of policing service to Canberra.

Canberra is a growing city that requires increased police services, not less.

Mr Gellatly, a former senior ACT Police officer with considerable experience, said that the compounding effect of the savings would hurt ACT Policing:

We believe the Canberra community should not accept a compromised police service.

Members, that is what happened. Just like in health, you get through the 2012 election and then there is this power-sharing agreement, the dirty deal, that was done between the Labor Party and the Greens—anything, any cost, any price to get this mob to stay in power. The pain has been felt across our Canberra community and you can see it here in police. They get into power and the first thing the Greens do is defund the police—“Let us start defunding the police.” That is what has happened.

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