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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2976..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

in this town, and this town compared to other cities in Australia has a very high level of public housing.

Mr Hargreaves: I think the highest per capita.

MR QUINLAN: Yes, the stats. I remind Mr Wood of that. Mr Wood and I have tugs-of-war over this in relation to funding and other priorities. Mr Wood has been a very successful advocate for public housing, and for Mr Smyth to come into this place and say, "We started this program" or "We started that program" is getting to the ridiculous stage of this rewriting of history.

Mr Wood would be saying, "You, the Liberals, ran the public housing stock and the maintenance program down." He has reversed that process-and what is the criticism? Not soon enough. As I have said before, I must get an ordinary, single die cast, with "too high", "too low", "not enough", "too many" and so on, on it, because these are the standard responses from an opposition when a government is doing something that it did not do. It beggars belief that Mr Smyth would stand on his feet and say, "We did all this," because what they did do was sell off large lumps of public housing stock, full stop.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 1.16-Housing ACT, $29,913,000 (net cost of outputs), $5,000,000 (capital injection), totalling $34,913,000-agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 1.17-Department of Justice and Community Safety, $81,624,000 (net cost of outputs), $17,277,000 (capital injection) and $99,219,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $198,120,000.

MR PRATT (11.08): I want to talk about the police portfolio within this line item and raise a couple of issues that I raised last week in the MPI about police numbers. A $4.5 million increase in funding for 2004-05 equals a 4.98 per cent increase in funding from last year. That is to be welcomed. There is a 5.75 per cent decrease in services through a reduction in police personnel. The 2003 ACT Policing annual report lists 817 police personnel, both sworn and unsworn. The 2004-05 ACT budget states that over 770 police personnel will be funded-47 personnel fewer than in the 2002-03 ACT Policing annual report. Ten additional police officer positions for 2004-05 and 10 additional positions for 2005-06 are promised in this appropriation, but are they sworn positions or unsworn positions? Community policing is not only a high priority for the Liberal opposition, it is a high priority for the community.

The Australian Federal Police Association's 2004-05 budget submission stated that the ACT needs an estimated additional 121 sworn police officers to bring the ACT in line with at least the national average of sworn police officers per 100,000 population. Remember the Labor Party's promise? I spoke about this in the MPI last week. I do not need to bash that to death, but for the record I say that 181 police per 100,000 population is about 30 per 100,000 less than the national average, and that is not good enough. The sworn police personnel issue can be coupled with the ever-delayed Woden police station saga. We will not hold our breath for that project to be completed. It is promised for June

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