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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4462 ..

MR STEFANIAK: Maybe you like to talk about political patronage, but the Sport and Recreation Council do a very good job. Certainly, I have been highly impressed. I do not think this Government is into political patronage, backroom deals or letting bureaucrats run away stupidly - unlike perhaps the previous Government. All we are doing, Ms McRae, for the whole of the grants process is to make it more efficient.

Ms McRae: Will you or will you not overturn their decisions? Answer the question. You cannot, can you? You are going to, are you not?

MR STEFANIAK: Ms McRae, they do a very good job. It is recognised by the Government that they do a very good job and obviously - - -

MR SPEAKER: Do not answer hypothetical questions.

MR STEFANIAK: I am sure that the Sport and Recreation Council will continue to do the sterling job it has done this year, last year and in previous years in recommending grants. The Government acknowledges the very good job that they do. I put on record again that, of all the grants programs, the sport and recreation one is certainly the best. That is going to help other government agencies when we take a whole-of-government approach.

Armed Hold-ups

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Minister for Police. I might add, Mr Speaker, that in my question the word "Minister" has been typed in lower case because we all know that he is not really the Minister for Police, but I will give him that title anyway. Minister, I refer you to the recent increase in armed hold-ups in Canberra, especially the ones aimed at the banks and financial institutions. I think it is important to distinguish between the armed hold-ups at the banks and the armed hold-ups at the supermarkets, because they are being committed by different elements in the criminal world. My question is specifically about the hold-ups obviously done by the professionals. Minister, what is being done about this worrying trend? Also, what is being done by the banks? Have you had any correspondence with the banks about them pulling their weight and increasing their security arrangements? Would it be a fair comment that the abolition of the Major Crime Squad last year has resulted in a lack of specialised police officers who would have more successfully tackled this problem?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Osborne for the question. I think the distinction Mr Osborne makes between armed robberies of service stations, supermarkets and so on and armed robberies of places like banks is a valid distinction. The fact is that very often the robberies of banks and other financial institutions are professional jobs by people who have carefully planned them. Often they come from interstate. Often they are people who have made a conscious decision to plan and execute a robbery, very often with high degrees of resolution and sometimes a willingness to use considerable levels of violence.

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