Page 970 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2023
MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. When asked on a recent Facebook post what she is doing about ‘the ridiculous amount of crime happening’ at Kippax, the best that Minister Berry could do was to tell local residents to join Neighbourhood Watch and report criminal behaviour to Crime Stoppers. The person who asked the question replied that she is already a member of Neighbourhood Watch and more than one resident replied that they had rung both Crime Stoppers and the police assistance line but police were unable to respond. Minister, why have you defunded the police so much that Minister Berry’s best response for tackling increased crime at Kippax is to tell local residents to do it themselves?
MR GENTLEMAN: I reject the premise of the question. We have not defunded police at all. In fact, we have invested more in every budget each year that I have been Minister for Police. That is recognised in the reduction of crime. The police have done a fantastic job over these years and crime has reduced across Canberra. We are leading the nation in crime reduction.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister, is ‘increased police activity’ needed to address criminal behaviour at Kippax, as Minister Berry suggested on ABC Radio on 21 February? How can you make that happen when police numbers are so low that it recently took officers three days to respond to the burglary of a business at Kippax?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mrs Kikkert for the question. Police do look at triaging responses to criminal activity across the ACT and, of course, put the most pressing activity at the front of their triage. It has been incredibly successful over many years. That is why our crime statistics show a downward trend, particularly in burglaries.
Of course, if there is a need for intensive operations in a particular area, police will work with the local community, as they have done on the request of the Canberra Liberals previously. I refer to the Mitchell work that was done a number of years ago, where it was brought to our attention that there were burglary activities around Mitchell. Police attended with a team and took on the responsibility, and the number of burglaries reduced dramatically. The police are doing a very good job across the ACT, and that is reflected in those crime statistics.
MR CAIN: Minister, did Minister Berry inform you of the specific crimes committed at Kippax that were reported to her on her Facebook post from 4 March? If so, what have you done to address those specific crimes and prevent similar ones happening?
MR GENTLEMAN: I encourage my ministerial colleagues to present directly to police or through Crime Stoppers.
MR CAIN: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management. Minister, I refer to the recent article by your former colleague and former Labor Chief Minister Jon Stanhope in CityNews, 16 March, titled: “Barr banks land as buyers flee