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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 August 2005 2005) . . Page.. 3157 ..


I fully support what my spokeswoman said in the Canberra Times today, because she is dead right. Is Mr Seselja asking us to say to people, “Do not look over your shoulder when you go to an ATM machine. Do not worry about who might be following you or lurking around. Go down as many dark alleys as you like—feel free”? Is Mr Seselja suggesting that we should be telling people, “Nah, do not worry about looking after yourself. Do not worry about walking through places which might have some problem”?

This is clearly a lead-in, a bit of a set-up. It is a really tricky question. I have to tell you that I do not see the problem as being the way you guys portray it: that we have massive gangs roaming the streets of Civic. We do not have a problem with systemic violence in the ACT. I accent the word “systemic”.

I do not believe that these isolated and unusual incidents warrant the concerns expressed in the media. It is an overreaction, and it is an overreaction perpetrated by you lot. I am very comfortable with the police’s approach in Civic at the minute, and particularly in other areas such as Manuka. Civic is obviously one of the popular places to go out, particularly on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. But people consume alcohol and unfortunately, in some instances, illegal drugs. This presents a challenge to the police.

To combat this, ACT Policing increases its presence on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. One of the ways that they do that is through the city beat teams. The prime focus of these teams is to provide a police presence in the Civic retail and entertainment precinct. This is delivered through a physical and mobile police presence rather than via a static shopfront, where intelligence, community liaison and law enforcement activities rely on the community consciously making an effort to enter the building. The city beat team undertakes both foot and vehicle patrols in and around the city area and patrols the Canberra city central business district. That is the role of the police.

People need to be careful in any place in the world. This town, in that sense, is no different. I think it was a planning document issued fairly recently—by the Canberra central taskforce, I think—that said that Canberra is one of the safest cities in this country, if not the world. For these guys to try to beat it up, so that people are too scared to come out of their houses, is irresponsible in the extreme. I suggest this to Mr Seselja, very sincerely and without any ulterior motive: check all of your facts, because one day you will be very seriously embarrassed, my boy.

Carers

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the Stanhope government’s support for projects that improve the recognition and support of Canberra’s carers?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms Porter for the question. The caring for carers policy tabled in December 2003 embodies the ACT government’s commitment to better acknowledge carers and better address their needs. In the 2004-05 budget, the ACT government announced new funding of $830,000 over four years to support the implementation of the caring for carers policy. I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that through the 2005-06 carer recognition grants program, the ACT government is


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