Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2497 ..
MR OSBORNE (12.51 am): I stand in support of Mr Connolly. I have a real problem about election promises that are not carried through. Given Mr Humphries's rhetoric and, as I am led to believe, many calls for the extra million dollars, I want to say how disappointed I personally was when it never eventuated. I am stunned at the excuse. It sounds like something one of my children would come up with - "They did not ask for it". It is a lot like those excuses you used to come up with when you did not do your homework, like, "My dog ate my homework". It is very much in that class, Mr Humphries. I found it quite interesting that the commissioner was very quiet when we raised that question at the meeting we had.
Madam Deputy Speaker, there is one point that I would like to stress. There was a letter in the Canberra Times the other day which went far over the top, I would think, in comparing Civic with Kings Cross. Having worked at Kings Cross, I certainly do not think Civic is anything like it. Madam Deputy Speaker, the Government must face the fact that police resources are a major part of the solution to a lot of these problems that we have. I hope that this Government, over the next couple of years, attempts to give back the money that was cut from the police over the last couple of years. I think it was 3 per cent.
Mr Humphries: It was 9 per cent.
MR OSBORNE: I am sorry; it was 9 per cent over three years. That, I suggest, was absolutely outrageous. As for capital works, I agree that something is needed out at Gungahlin, but something is also needed down in Tuggeranong. I am sure you have been to that poor excuse for a police station down there. The sad thing for me, Mr Humphries, is to realise that at times, in a district covering 100,000 people, there are only two cars on the road. Because of the inadequate police station down there, if someone needs to be locked up, one car sometimes has to travel to Civic or to Belconnen, effectively putting them off the road for up to two or three hours. If the other car is involved with, say, an accident, or is doing something trivial like that, it basically means that there are no general duties police covering the whole area of Tuggeranong. You know my wishes on this. I hope that in the next budget something is done to alleviate this problem.
I will say this, and I put it on the record: If police funding had been cut I would be voting against that line in the budget. It is tough. Mr Moore looks at me, but that is how passionate I am about it. I am putting you on notice, Mr Humphries. As I have stated many a time this evening, that is probably going to fall on deaf ears, or you will probably stand up in a minute and promise five police stations in Tuggeranong. Given that what you say and what you do are two totally different things, I will just wait and see. Madam Deputy Speaker, I feel it is important that the police and the maintenance of law and order remain vital focus points in this Assembly. I will be ensuring that they do.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for Police) (12.56 am): It is a little ironic that I should face criticism from Mr Osborne in the position that I am in at the moment. I have been critical of the fact that the police budget has been cut severely over the last four or so years, or the four years before this year. There has been a 9 per cent reduction in spending on policing and on the maintenance of law and order in the Territory. I have delivered the first police budget in five years that has not been cut.