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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 3 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 893..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

made for public housing tenants to be better protected are well known. I am on the public record many a time for defending public housing tenants and speaking about the shocking and appalling conditions, particularly at Red Hill, that they are currently having to endure.

I suggest to members opposite that they, like we, get out there. Go and visit some of these places. The dilapidated state of the Red Hill precinct and the shopping area is a disgrace. Maybe we cannot do something about the shopping precinct, but by golly we can certainly do something about the public housing complex. How do you expect people to rise to the standard that we want them to, be inclusive, raise their general wellbeing, when you expect them to live in conditions such as exist there? Quite clearly and quite sadly, there is a correlation between the public housing complex and the breakdown of law and order in the area. We have asked that those people be given support. There are people out there with mental health conditions, for example, that need extra support. I have asked for that many time, but the pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

My colleague Mr Pratt has stated that many of these offenders are well known to the community and the police. Mr Corbell stands there taking great delight from Operation Halite, which has been a huge success. I will tell you now that Strathgordon Court was one place where it came into effect after I gave the police information. I gave them intelligence, as did some of the tenants living in Strathgordon Court, as was the case with Red Hill, I might add. I was pleased to see that Operation Halite was able to stretch police resources. Let's not make any bones about it: they are stretched. They are stretched to the maximum to try to deal with a gradual degeneration of law and order in this city. Simply to say that it is the same everywhere else is feeble and is no answer.

Let's talk about police feedback from residents. Bail is granted and these people are again out in the community. The system seems to be falling over. Again I say that the police must be so overstretched and underresourced that they simply are not able to do this essential community liaison work. We know that people are being released on bail. Only this week, on Monday, there was a case in Hughes of somebody being held up and somebody else being bailed up by the police, but bailed out by the courts, back out again. What are we coming to? We are simply allowing a situation to occur where law-breakers and offenders can roam our suburbs thumbing their nose at the police and the community at large. We have no doubt what we are seeing is a degeneration of law and order in our community, no more so than that being exposed at our local shopping centre precincts.

I support this MPI today, call on the government to read Hansard and check some of the things that we have said, and start acting and listening to the residents of this community now.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Minister for Health and Minister for Planning): Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I seek to make a personal explanation.


MR CORBELL: Mrs Burke said that I sought to blame others. That is not the case. I said no such thing, and her claim is incorrect. I did not at any point during my speech seek to say that it was the fault of other people if crime was committed against them.

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