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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1802 ..

move a further amendment which will pick up the important point that the government’s amendment in the new paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b) acknowledges that new level of funding. I think that is a fair statement of fact. There is an important discussion to be had about whether Neighbourhood Watch needs more money than that and whether more money would make them even more effective and enable them to make an even greater contribution to our community. We know—this has been touched on in the debate and my own discussions with Neighbourhood Watch—it is growing; there is more demand; there are more people who want to be involved; and more resources could enable Neighbourhood Watch to do an even better job in our community than they already do.

They are the comments I would like to make on the government’s amendment, which we will be supporting. I would also like to move the amendment that has been circulated in my name, and I will speak briefly to that. I move the amendment circulated in my name.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Mr Rattenbury, you cannot move that amendment at the moment because there is already an amendment on foot.

MR RATTENBURY: Of course I cannot, sorry.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: The Assembly will have to come back to that and you will have to seek leave.

MR RATTENBURY: The irony, of course, is that I already had said to Ms Burch that I would do this later, and I forgot my own advice. I will simply conclude by saying that we welcome Mr Doszpot bringing forward this motion today. Neighbourhood Watch plays a very valuable role in the community. The Greens will be supporting the essence of Mr Doszpot’s motion but also the government’s amendment.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.56): Madam Assistant Speaker, I thank Mr Doszpot for putting this motion on the notice paper. There is nothing better when a community looks after itself and is supported by its government to do that; so I completely support the thrust of this motion. Involving the community in safety and security measures is very, very important. It gives ownership, but at the end of the day it is the people on the street that know what is going on in their street. If we can harness that power, if we can assist them to look after themselves, it does build community spirit, community support and, in the end, better communities.

I do recall the farce of Labor’s approach in the lead-up to the 2008 election when, of course, Neighbourhood Watch was a dirty word with the government, which ran it down for years and completely defunded it. We went to the election with an announcement that we would, of course, support Neighbourhood Watch. Suddenly, there was Simon Corbell—two hours later, I think it was—after our announcement calling Neighbourhood Watch in. Suddenly, $20,000 a year appeared in the budget for Neighbourhood Watch. It was quite funny to watch and quite hilarious.

You have to look at Labor’s support of Neighbourhood Watch and come to the conclusion that it is shallow at best. It really was driven by crass political expediency.

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