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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1809 ..


Canberra north we have Mick Motion-Wise. In Canberra’s south there is no-one listed at the moment, but it is a district. In Gungahlin we have Christine Coulthard. In Tuggeranong we have Nick Tsoulias, who has already been mentioned today. In Weston Creek we have Lex Clark and in Woden we have Shirley Lithgow. I note that she is also the secretary of the Woden Valley Community Council.

In addition to the other work that it does, Neighbourhood Watch distributes regular newsletters to over 15 locations across the ACT, including places like Woden, Chifley, Curtin, Garran, Pearce, O’Malley, Lyons, Isaacs and many other suburbs. As we all know, Neighbourhood Watch is a completely volunteer-based organisation. Essentially, it runs on the smell of an oily rag—the result of a lack of funding and disdain by the Stanhope government over a number of years for that community organisation.

The Canberra Liberals remain absolutely committed to organisations such as Neighbourhood Watch. That is demonstrated, I think notably, by the commitment at the last election to provide $50,000 in recurrent funding to Neighbourhood Watch to support that important work. That was in contrast to the government’s $20,000 offer. I think Mr Smyth made a point of the fact that that was only announced after the Canberra Liberals announced they would provide $50,000. In the morning Simon Corbell said, “No, there will be no money,” and then by lunchtime he said, “Yes, here is some money.” I can only imagine the phone calls that were occurring between Simon Corbell saying no in the morning and yes in the afternoon. This demonstrates that the Labor government does not have a genuine concern for that organisation. It was done simply to take the heat out of a political issue on the eve of the election.

We have also seen the setting up of the suburban consultative committees. That was an election promise by the Stanhope government. They were essentially set up somewhat in competition to Neighbourhood Watch. Neighbourhood Watch was very critical of that move. Money was promised by the Stanhope government for those committees. That money has never been delivered. The latest I have heard is that they have now been absorbed and information on their status is something I eagerly await when we conduct estimates hearings.

We remain committed to Neighbourhood Watch, regardless of the government’s lack of commitment. I know, through ongoing dialogue with Neighbourhood Watch, that it continues to face significant pressures and is unable to provide the level of service that it would like to or indeed that the community requires. It is, of course, important to recognise that government simply cannot do everything and organisations such as Neighbourhood Watch provide an invaluable link between the community and the police. In many ways I think they provide good value for money. Money that is invested in Neighbourhood Watch is money wisely invested.

One of the functions an organisation like Neighbourhood Watch can do, in particular, is have its ear to the ground in our communities. It is something that the police, with their stretched numbers, simply cannot do. Neighbourhood Watch members are members of the local community and have the best understanding when there is an issue or a problem. They really understand what is going on in their community. We


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