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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 1531 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: I will clarify, if that is possible, the misapprehension in your mind about the process of considering these things. A preliminary assessment is, by its nature, a process involving public consultation. I do not believe that you could level a charge that there is not an opportunity for the community to be involved in commenting on the specific concepts. If Ms Horodny believes that it is not sufficiently consultative in its nature, then it is her duty to bring to this place an amendment to the planning Act to effect a change to that arrangement.

The fact is that the planning legislation was worked out in this place over a long period of time and with much blood, toil, tears and sweat. Whether we are satisfied with it having reached the right conclusions in terms of the processes that these sorts of applications need to go through or not is a matter that every member will have their own view about, but I as Minister am compelled to comply with the planning legislation as it stands. If the mechanisms are not there for appropriate consultation, it lies in Ms Horodny's hands to remedy that problem. I believe that there is appropriate consultation. I believe that there have been a large number of comments on this preliminary assessment, and there will be ample opportunity for people to express a point of view on a decision as large as this as it affects people in the surrounding areas of Canberra.

Police Force - Special Projects Unit

MR OSBORNE: I must apologise for being late to question time today, but I was coming back into work along Drakeford Drive, and you would not believe it but they are marking the roads today.

MR SPEAKER: Ask your question, Mr Osborne.

MR OSBORNE: It is amazing the things you have to do, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Police, Mr Humphries. Minister, I would like to bring to your attention - I am sure that you are aware of it - the outstanding work of the city police special projects unit. I read in the Canberra Times earlier in the month that over 650 offenders had been arrested in the previous eight weeks for a variety of offences, of which I believe the majority were drug related. When you consider that the unit is only six strong, their efforts can only be described as outstanding. I ask the Minister whether he has any plans to introduce a system of awards or medals or commendations which would properly express the appreciation of the Canberra community not only for its police but for all emergency service personnel.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am aware of the work of the special projects unit. Members may be aware that this is one of those units that have been established pursuant to the new flexible staffing arrangement the Government has introduced which allows teams to come forward from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines within the police structure to deal with a particular problem for as long as that problem is perceived to be there and then to move on and to do other things, depending on the profile of the work that the Federal Police need to attend to within the ACT context.

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