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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 944 ..


they wanted more PACER and more Coffee with a Cop. We look forward to seeing justice reinvestment as a priority in the next budget.

I also want to mention the bushfires and smoke from 2019 and 2020. Those fires saw air quality in the ACT unlike anything we have ever seen here before. In fact, we had the worst air quality in the world while fires raged in New South Wales. Thirty-one people died from the effects of that smoke. Those were just the short-term deaths; we do not yet have any idea what the long-term impacts are of that event. And we do not know how often we are likely to experience that again. The justice and community safety committee also recommended, we heard in estimates recently, that the ACT government prepare a whole-of-government management plan for future smoke events and for incidents affecting air quality. We would like that plan to be presented to the Assembly by the last sitting day in 2021. I look forward to seeing that management plan and seeing the additional resources needed to manage it. Climate change is here, and we need to make sure we are prepared to manage its impacts.

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (11.30): What are the essential services that the community expects from its government? It is unfortunate that Mr Gentleman is not present in the chamber during this time. Health certainly ranks high, as do education, welfare and security—security for the community and for their neighbourhoods.

Where is the government’s priority for the community’s security? I am frequently out in the shopping centres and doorknocking—talking to citizens, in my electorate particularly. Security and policing frequently arise as concerns for them, including issues with hoons in the streets and safety while walking in the evening and at night. These are concerns that people experience, and they do not feel supported by this government with respect to them. Policing numbers, as has been mentioned, have effectively been reduced by stealth, and the community is not getting this priority security and protection that it deserves.

I would like to mention a few other items of interest from the budget papers and reports. It is a bit of a puzzle to me that on the new oversight committee for the Alexander Maconochie Centre is a former police officer. Why is there not an experienced correctional services officer, which is the key function of that centre? The government has promised an additional 99 firefighters by 2024-25 to ensure that ACT Fire & Rescue operational response capacity meets increased demands. We will be making sure this target is met, if not improved.

The number of convicted offenders not completing their community service work orders has increased dramatically. It is a worthwhile scheme that is not working. I urge the government to review its implementation. It was mentioned yesterday that the ACT is in desperate need of a dedicated coroner. I am sure if the government was listening to the legal advocacy organisations in the territory—the Law Society, the Bar Association and the legal aid providers—they would hear similar voices.

Police, as I have mentioned, are desperately underfunded across the ACT. We must increase the number of frontline police officers. We need better policing services that are accessible—and accessible as immediately as possible—to members of the community. I support, as well, the justice reinvestment strategy, and, as I have


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