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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4011..


MR WOOD

: I will give a more detailed response to the history that you have spelled out because I do not know exactly who met whom at what time. There has been a great deal of activity; in fact, I am going on site to Gold Creek some time next week to get a better picture of the spaces that are there. I have been there a number of times before, but I want to take with me the briefs and the detail I have of where we are going at this minute and survey all the circumstances on the site.

Yes, Mr Corbell committed it to be a community facility. That holds-there is no question about that. Just what form of community facility is yet to be finally determined. I will get you that detail, as indicated.

Police-levels of service

MR CORNWELL

: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Wood. I refer to comments in the Canberra Times of 4 October this year by Mr Martin Smith, the licensee of the Latham post office. You will recall that recently Mr Smith was stabbed in an attempted armed robbery and another gentleman who came to his assistance was stabbed to death. Mr Martin Smith said:

The police seem to have serious management problems in Canberra. You can ring up the Belconnen police station and there's no-one there. The politicians need to allocate funds and make the police more accountable and the community needs to make the police more accountable.

Minister, is your government soft on crime and, if not, why have you failed to allocate sufficient funds to provide an adequate police service to the people of Canberra?

Mr Stanhope

: Are you still bashing the police force?

MR WOOD

: I can see this election theme emerging, can't you? Soft on crime; in two days we have heard it twice so I can see this emerging over a period. Indisputably, there are more police out there than when you were in government. I think that is just one measure of what is going on. Mr Pratt's motion yesterday fell in a heap because he made wide accusations without any real evidence.

However, I do have a concern about the answering of telephones. I get complaints about this and I know that others also get complaints. I indicated in the debate yesterday that I think by this time a new system has been instituted at Belconnen and will flow through to other stations where, if you ring that station number and it is not answered quickly because police are doing other things-answering people at the counter; doing all sorts of things-the call is switched through to a central area where it should be answered. I acknowledge that issue, principally around Belconnen but it is not uncommon elsewhere either; so that is a concern.

I would make one comment in respect of the very sad events around Latham post office. The police response was very rapid. You can continue to go on with the line about being soft on crime but it does not hold.


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