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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1487..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

reason why government and opposition may not want to fill out the intent behind a bill they have put forward.

One of the things that have been observed is that, with majority government, there is less useful and probing discussion in the house and by Assembly committees, especially when committees reflect the majority in the Assembly. Consequently, the simple bill I put before the house and that I gather you will reject—there is still time to change your minds, chaps—was an attempt to increase transparency, to make the work we do here better and to show how it reflects on the community.

Question resolved in the negative.

Policing—numbers

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.29): I move:

That, given the details in the Productivity Commission Report 2005 pointing to ACT Policing being around 130 below the national average of its sworn police force strength, the lowest strength of any jurisdiction, and given clear concerns that our police force is significantly overstretched, this Assembly calls upon the Government to table by 16 May 2006:

(1) all aspects of the Government's Functional Review pertaining to ACT Policing;

(2) the internal reviews, time and motion and other studies undertaken by ACT Policing and the Department of Justice and Community Services in the last three years pertaining to capability; and

(3) copies of all draft documents pertaining to the ongoing negotiations into the Police Agreement.

The reasons for the above motion are as follows, and I will shortly specify a little more. The details in the Productivity Commission report 2005 state that the ACT has the lowest number of police per head of population compared with all other states and territories in Australia. The national average is about 289 police per 100,000 people. The ACT has the lowest, with only 251 police per 100,000 people.

We know that, since the release of the 2006 Productivity Commission figures, the ratio for the ACT has barely changed. This basically means that, for our current population of over 300,000 people, we are about 130 officers short of the mark to have a well-resourced and fully functioning community police force. In fact, the Australian Federal Police Association claims that the figure is much higher and would argue that we really need around 180 extra police in the ACT to allow the force to work efficiently at the level that is needed. That figure needs to be tested, but we should take note of that concern.

Whilst Mr Corbell and the Stanhope government continue to argue that these per head of population figures are not meaningful, I beg to differ. The government claims that it is not how many police officers they have but how they are doing it that matters. They claim that intelligence-based policing is the way to go and that having more officers on the ground does not necessarily help. This is clearly a mistaken view, in the view of the


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