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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3586 ..


Gungahlin’s population has more than tripled since the opening of the centre. This under-resourcing continues the appalling lack of appropriate infrastructure, meaning poor response times to outlying areas of Gungahlin and increased crime. It could mean the difference between life and death in some circumstances. Every other district in the ACT has its own police station, but Gungahlin, one of the fastest-growing areas, must continue to manage with outdated services.

It is not just Gungahlin that is waiting on improved services. Who knows when Molonglo will get its own emergency services? As my colleague Mr Hanson has already indicated, Molonglo is expected to reach a population of over 62,000, but the promised emergency services for this area are not even mentioned in this budget. The new areas of Coombs, Denman Prospect and Wright continue to suffer from the lack of planning by this government. Residents and businesses in these areas continue to pay their fire and emergency services levy at increasing rates—there is a 1.75 per cent increase this year—but no dedicated and localised services have been identified.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety has requested a comprehensive breakdown of these funds. I look forward to hearing from the minister where the money from this program goes. Much more detail on how this is spent is required. This would provide the people of Canberra with some confidence that their increasing costs are going to the right place, providing much-needed services even if they are some considerable distance from their homes.

This was a disappointing budget for all concerned, especially emergency services. Environmental conditions are changing and the threats to our community are increasing. The lack of funding is disappointing, particularly for Gungahlin. There is a slight investment of $8.3 million over the forward estimates, yet the government cannot guarantee that there will be additional police provided for the area. It is crucial that police are provided for the area, due to the increasing crime that is occurring. We are calling on this government to invest in frontline police officers, which Mr Gentleman has not done. As Mr Hanson has indicated, the government cut over $15 million from the budget many years ago. This needs to be reinvested in the police force, and we need more police on the beat.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (11.45): I am pleased to support the 2021-22 appropriation bill, particularly this part of it under the output class that we are discussing.

As our city continues to grow, it is essential that we have a responsive, fair and accessible justice system. In relation to the Justice and Community Safety line item, it is a budget about doing justice differently and doing it better. The appropriation bill builds on and progresses key commitments which aim to make our justice system even more progressive, accessible and equitable. Funding is also being provided to further support the welfare of Canberrans interacting with the justice system.

The budget includes measures to boost the operations of the ACT courts and tribunals. There are a number of particular initiatives that I will speak to that highlight that point.


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