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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2612 ..

MR STEFANIAK: I would think, Mr Speaker, that if there were proposals in relation to that which were beneficial to everyone, we would certainly have to look at them. I do not think I could possibly reject that out of hand, Ms McRae; but certainly, from what I understand in relation to selling and leasing back of schools, there are a number of problems with it, a number of things you would need to closely consider before you went down that track. I am certainly not going to reject that out of hand, but we would have to look at any proposal very carefully before we went any further.

Demonstrations at Parliament House - Injuries to Police Officers

MR OSBORNE: I would like to thank Mr Moore for stealing half of my question earlier.

Mr Moore: On housing.

MR OSBORNE: Yes, on housing. My question is to the Minister for Police, Mr Humphries. Minister, are you able to inform the Assembly just how many ACT Region AFP officers were involved in the riots around Parliament House last week? Also, what impact did it have on policing for the two days throughout the rest of the Territory with so many officers off the road? Just how much did last week's exercise cost ACT taxpayers?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for that question. I must say that I share what I assume is a concern on his part about the impact of demonstrations like those on resourcing for policing in the ACT. Members will be aware that the demonstrations on 19 and 20 August, last week, resulted in a very significant impact on ACT policing, in that the police officers who attended those demonstrations to provide the security around both the Old Parliament House and the new Parliament House were officers from ACT Operations. I do not know the exact number of officers who were present on those occasions, but they would certainly number in the hundreds on both days. I attended the Old Parliament House on 20 August to inspect some of the police there. They were involved in some very ugly scenes. There must have been at least 120 officers there at that stage, and that was after the worst of the demonstration.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to take on notice the question of exactly how many police were involved there, but I can inform the house that, during the demonstrations on 19 August, 88 police officers were injured, including one officer who was admitted to hospital for treatment and was released the following day. I think it was a female officer. On 20 August, 27 police officers were injured during scuffles with protesters; five were treated at hospital and were discharged. Over the two days' protest, 115 police officers reported injuries, and one of those needed to be detained overnight in the Canberra Hospital. In response, 52 people were arrested, although almost all of these people were released almost immediately on entering into an agreement to keep the peace. A small number, I understand, have been charged.

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