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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 1995) . . Page.. 1636 ..


Why then did you not factor into the budget any money at all for the running of the Winchester Centre? It was $360,000 a year. Not a cent was put away for that purpose.

Mr Hird: A minor oversight.

MR HUMPHRIES: A minor oversight: Oops, a few noughts dropped out of the back pocket on the way through to the Cabinet room; a few noughts went missing out of the back pocket. It is quite staggering, Mr Speaker.

This Government is not going to imitate, despite Mr Connolly's suggestion, the actions of the former Government, which cut police expenditure by 2 per cent each and every year of the years that Mr Connolly was Minister for police, amounting to 9 per cent over the term of the last Government. That figure contributed to a serious rise in the rate of crime in the Territory. Crime was up by something like 20 per cent in the Territory over the space of the last Government - a problem that this Government inherits and will face up to.

I make no bones about the fact that it was not possible in that environment to provide police with an extra $1m; but we will do what we said we would do, and that is put resources into our police system where they are needed. We have placed an extra 25 police onto the streets of Canberra - not police sitting behind desks waiting for work to come to them, but police in squad cars, police on motorbikes and bicycles, police on foot patrols, police in places where they are best able to do their job. That is the hallmark of this Government - putting resources where they are most needed. That will continue to be the way in which we conduct ourselves in this area.

MR CONNOLLY: I will not answer Mr Humphries’s question as chair of the Legal Affairs Committee, other than to tell him that he should have learnt from his previous experience as a Minister that bids are considered as they come in. By way of a supplementary question: I take it that you have now acknowledged that your $1m additional police expenditure was merely another broken election promise. Your reference to the 25 additional police, saying that police are now no longer sitting behind desks waiting for work to come to them and presumably otherwise less than usefully employed, is your view of the role that has previously been occupied by senior detectives from the Major Crime Squad, is it, Mr Humphries?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, if Mr Connolly wants to ask me about the Major Crime Squad or the Legal Services Branch, I am very happy to have a debate about that. I consider that the way in which we have - - -

Mr Connolly: Do you think Major Crime Squad detectives were just sitting around waiting for work to come to them?

MR HUMPHRIES: Wait for your answer, Mr Connolly. I consider that the structure of those services was not designed to meet the optimal needs of the people of Canberra. I consider that a function that was designed around a major crime coming to these people was not the appropriate way of conducting that kind of service for the people of Canberra. As far as the Major Crime Squad is concerned, in the course of the last year before the change to abolish that unit, the Major Crime Squad had to confront


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