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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 867 ..

Mrs Jones: Point of order: Dr Paterson is constantly referring to members of the opposition as “you”. It is the custom in this place to refer to people either by their appropriate titles or through the Speaker. This is not how debate is meant to be held in this chamber.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Dr Paterson, if you would direct your remarks through me, as chair, that would be appreciated.

DR PATERSON: Yes, Chair. Nobody wants crime in their neighbourhood—no-one—but unfortunately it does happen. We need to stop it happening, and the way to do that is by ensuring a highly engaged community that has trust and confidence in the police, and that supports police to do the job. The constant rhetoric coming from Mr Hanson on crime is to the detriment of our community and the relationship between the community and police. What is brilliant about Weston Creek and Molonglo is that we have a hyperactive, highly engaged community and Neighbourhood Watch Facebook pages. I commend the administrators of those pages for creating an inclusive space for the community to connect—which they do, in droves. It means that often within minutes of anything taking place, good or bad, it is posted online.

There is a significant positive in this, in that the community really rallies around people to help with information and support, and there is an awareness of what is going on, which I view, personally, as really important. However, it can also be used as a political tool to exaggerate a perception of crime and inadequate policing. I want to change that. I want to speak to the Weston Creek and Molonglo Valley. We live in one of the most spectacular parts of Canberra. We live in one of the safest parts of Canberra. We are a highly connected, integrated community with a strong sense of identity. We have a police force that works day and night to keep us safe and deserves enormous credit for the part it plays in the creation of this amazing community.

However, I also would like to speak to the victims of the crimes that have been committed. I am so sorry for the experiences they have had. Every single one of those crime statistics has a victim or multiple victims. I also want to make a point of how distressing property crime can be, as Mr Hanson pointed out. Any violation of your space, your place or your person can hugely impact your life. For those victims, our community has not been a safe place, and their experiences and their inputs into this conversation are greatly valued.

The next point I want to make is that, although I believe that Mr Hanson’s point about a police station is political rhetoric, that does not mean that I will not advocate very strongly for police time and resources being spent in our electorate and in the areas of Weston Creek and Molonglo. I am excited to see money put into police jobs and community engagement through the Police Services Model. I want to support the Weston Creek and Molonglo community to better understand how the police work and how we can support them to do their job; what information is useful to them, and in what manner we present that information. I also think it would be useful for the community to understand how the information we give to police is used, and what becomes a report and what does not, for example. I want to see the crime rate reduced, and I want to support the community to work together to do this.

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