Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1911 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
In pockets; not generally - is not as high as it could be, because of the spectre of the emergency services legislation. There are a lot of people who disagree with it and a lot of people are concerned about it. Morale is down. You might say, "What is the budgetary connection with that?". A decent budget, correctly framed, creates stability. Instability is what frightens people - so does constant and significant structural change.
Reprofiling is another word for slash and burn. That is the way the people are looking at it and they do not like it, and I do not like it. Mr Speaker, I have a press release from the Minister dated 23 July that states:
The AFP's "reprofiling" exercise, which saw 70 AFP members made redundant, has dramatically affected the ACT's community policing function.
That is why people are upset. They agree with the Minister. It further states:
14 officers from the ACT Region became part of the AFP's "reprofiling" and despite assurances that those members' positions would be filled immediately, they remain vacant.
They were vacant, therefore, on 23 July 1998. When the members see that positions are vacant for a long time as a result of a significant restructure, they begin to doubt that they will ever be refilled. (Extension of time granted)
I do not want to go on too long about the Ayers report, only to say that I am disappointed that we cannot have a look at it. It is a significant document. We spent $54m on a contract with the AFP. The review by Mr Ayers is probably the most significant review in the AFP's history. I think it would have been appropriate for the Federal Minister for Justice to have paid the compliment to her ACT counterpart and provided a copy automatically. It may not have been possible to supply a complete copy because, supposedly, there would have been national security implications, but the bits relevant to the ACT could have been extracted and provided to the Minister. The Minister could then have made a judgment about whether or not it was appropriate to reveal those extracts. We would not be arguing about a whole document; we would be arguing only about its relevance to the ACT.
This was a significant review. If I had a contract with somebody to come and do something with my house and I knew that they were doing a significant restructure, I would want to know about it so I could decide whether I wanted to continue the relationship. To those people who say, "This is secret men's business. You cannot find out. This is real spook stuff. Too bad, you cannot find out", I would say, "Well, not only can we not find out but also you do not get paid". That is what I would be saying about it.
I would like to conclude on a positive note - if I can take a liberty here with the budgetary process; I am sure the Minister will allow it - by congratulating the emergency services section on the compilation of the fuel management plan. I have a copy of it in my office. This is a very responsible document, it is well compiled and it shows a leading-edge understanding of what is going on in bushfire control, particularly with forests,