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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 940 ..

the government agreed to fund the relocation of the ACT Policing traffic operations centre to a fit-for-purpose facility which will better meet the business and operational needs of ACT Policing. The cost of this initiative has been withheld to secure value for money when the government approaches the market.

This appropriation bill also provides funding to strengthen ACT Corrective Services’ capacity to provide a safe and secure environment for detainees, staff and visitors at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, and to enhance the delivery of offender rehabilitation programs, including $0.9 million in 2020-21 to continue addressing the immediate need of providing culturally appropriate holistic health and wellbeing services to members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at the AMC.

There is $0.6 million in capital and $0.2 million in recurrent funding in 2020-21 for additional contraband detection equipment at the AMC to improve operational safety and security for both staff and detainees. In addition, there is $5.6 million over two years from 2020-21 to address soil rectification issues on the site of the AMC reintegration centre project.

Through these strategic investments, the government aims to make the experience of imprisonment one that reinforces the potential for rehabilitation and betterment in the lives of those who have been incarcerated. I am hopeful and believe that, through this bill and these strategic investments, the government will enhance overall community safety and the wellbeing of all Canberrans. I commend this budget to the Assembly.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.15): I rise to talk about the police element of this budget and the concerns the Canberra Liberals have with police funding generally. This was a matter of debate in the Assembly yesterday, but it is important that I put it on the record as part of this debate as well.

In the context of this budget, I look at previous budgets and what has been going on over a series of years. No one budget should be looked at in isolation, particularly when you have an organisation as complex and as large as ACT Policing. I want to refer back to 2013, when this minister voted for the budget to support police cuts. I quote from the ABC from 7 June 2013:

The Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) says a cut of more than $15 million from ACT Policing's budget could lead to job cuts.

The savings over four years are part of a Government efficiency drive affecting all ACT directorates.

But AFPA chief executive officer Dennis Gellatly has accused the Government of cutting funding to the police budget by stealth.

It says the cuts throw doubt on the Government’s commitment to reducing crime rates and responding to incidents.

“It’s really concerning that the funding cuts appear to have been disguised amongst general savings deep down in the budget papers, without specifically referring to ACT Policing” he said.

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