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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 327 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, I can. I thank Mr Hird for the question. It is true that the police budget is particularly stretched this year. It comes about because of high levels of expenditure required on a relatively small number of major operations. The police are looking at a shortfall in the order of $800,000 this year. The resources committed to a number of major investigations were far above and beyond the normal requirements for a financial year, primarily because those operations entailed significant expenditure in gaining evidence to place before the courts. Members may recall, for example, a high profile murder investigation undertaken during the last year costing very significantly. Also, a recent extensive operation targeting a motorcycle gang's members involved in dealing in illicit drugs and firearms has been very costly.

Mr Speaker, the Government is weighing the facts carefully and we conclude that the only alternative to not proceeding with these investigations at the necessary cost is a significant compromise to public safety and law enforcement. Accordingly, during February my department made available $200,000 to assist the police and the Commonwealth Government exempted the ACT Region of the Australian Federal Police from planned expenditure reductions. Together, that provided some $393,000 worth of extra funding. Since being returned to government I have been working with the AFP's regional management team to identify areas of expenditure that could be reduced without compromising essential community services. As part of that process the AFP has been required to examine a number of cost reduction strategies for consideration by the Government.

Mr Speaker, this Government is committed to ensuring that Canberra's policing services are well maintained and that the community's safety is not compromised. Accordingly, I can announce today that the Government has approved further supplementation of about $472,000 from the Treasurer's Advance which will assist the Australian Federal Police to meet their obligations for the protection of the community throughout the remainder of this financial year. In a small jurisdiction it is sometimes necessary to provide access to further funding to ensure that major operations are undertaken across the board properly. The Government does not shrink from its responsibilities to manage the Territory's finances capably. That means keeping down those costs as much as possible. But sometimes it is more important to make sure that resources are supplemented to ensure that essential community obligations are fulfilled, and that is the case in this particular instance.

Rural Residential Development

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Hird in his capacity as chair of the Urban Services Committee. Mr Hird, on ABC radio on 8 May - not long ago - you said that you had given no commitments in relation to development at Kinlyside. I read from the transcript of that interview:

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