Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (5 September) . . Page.. 3148 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Let me say, Mr Speaker, that, from a person who is both a former Treasurer of the Territory and a former Minister for Police for the Territory, I found those comments very surprising. They were surprising because Ms Follett would surely be aware that in July 1990 the ACT signed an agreement with the Federal Government for the supply of police services to the Territory. Under that agreement the ACT pays for 689 officers of the Australian Federal Police to provide a service to Canberra. We actually pay for only 594 of them because 95 come, in a sense, for free, to account for the fact that we supply services to the Commonwealth through our police, a la three weeks ago at Parliament House.
The effect, of course, Mr Speaker, is that the ACT provides a budget for its community policing, and any reductions in spending at the Commonwealth level on Federal policing have no impact at all on the ACT because we buy the services that we need directly from the Commonwealth. There is no question of our sharing resources which are going to get cut. We pay for what we need. If the Commonwealth cuts back on those services we pay less. Therefore, there is no cost to the Territory. There is no proposal, of course, to cut back on the Territory's allocation of resourcing, and that is the position this Government has taken.
I must say that I find the comments made by Ms Follett a little hard to accept, however, given that during the period 1991 to 1995, while she was in office, resources to the Australian Federal Police in the ACT were cut by 6.4 per cent; every year a 2 per cent cut to the Federal Police budget. If after shaving something like $3.5m off the Australian Federal Police she now feels confident in turning back to the community and saying, "The Federal Government must not cut the police budget; the Federal Government cannot get away with cutting the police budget", I suspect a lot of people would be a little sceptical about the value of her contribution to a debate like that.
MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I have a question for Mr Stefaniak as the Minister for Housing. Minister, in the Assembly on Wednesday, 28 August, you stated that the Government has sold 226 public housing dwellings over the past three years. In 1995-96, 64 dwellings were sold; in 1994-95, 80 dwellings were sold; in 1993-94, 82 dwellings were sold. You also informed the Assembly that the Government was planning to sell approximately 200 dwellings in this financial year. Can you tell the Assembly, Minister, why you are increasing the sales of public houses by triple the average number of the past three years?
MR STEFANIAK: Talk about boring and repetitious questions and, probably, boring and repetitious answers! Ms Follett, it is not nearly triple. I think the Government indicated it was probably going to sell somewhere between 150 and 200 houses and build up to 200 new houses this financial year. Quite clearly, as has been indicated in the various debates we have had on housing over the last two weeks, there is ample capacity for the Government to do that as a result of the very significant and often inappropriate housing stock we have. Accordingly, we are in a very good position to be able to do that.