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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 324 ..

Joint Emergency Services Centre, Woden

MR HIRD: Mr Berry is all of a sudden a Speaker. We have two in the house. Through you, Mr Speaker, I address a question to the Minister for Justice and Community Safety. It is in regard to the announcement by this great Government of the 1999-2000 draft capital works program, which proposes a new joint emergency services centre for Woden and has some provision for an ACT prison. Is the Minister aware of claims by our honourable colleague Mr Hargreaves that the new joint emergency services centre at Woden will be, as he says, too small to accommodate police in Woden and that police will be lost from Woden? To where we do not know. Is this true, Minister? Can you inform the parliament?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, I can. I have to say to Mr Hird that it is almost foolish to ask whether something Mr Hargreaves has said in the media is true. The answer is almost axiomatic. I have heard these claims. They would be laughable if they were not so serious. The claims Mr Hargreaves is fond of making not only are wrong but also have the potential to frighten people and to create a very wrong impression. This community has enough trouble trusting what the Assembly does without people simply creating completely false stories to cause alarm in the community.

No, there is no truth to the allegation that the JESC will be too small to accommodate police and the police will be lost from Woden; quite the contrary. The fact is that the Woden JESC will have 25 per cent more space than the three present operational centres - that is, the police station, the ambulance station and the fire station - have put together. The police station is 1,290 square metres, the ambulance station is 600 square metres and the fire station is 510 square metres. If you add that up - blink, blink, blink - you get 2,400 square metres. The proposal is for a JESC of 3,000 square metres, 25 per cent larger.

Mr Hargreaves might imagine in the fevered pictures of his imagination that somehow we are going to expand the fire and ambulance services at the expense of the police. Not so, Mr Speaker. The current Woden patrol has an establishment of 77 officers. The design brief for the new JESC will have a requirement for an establishment of 90 police officers - an enlargement from 77 to 90.

Mr Hargreaves: Have you told that to the Justice Committee? We are still waiting on the numbers from you.

MR HUMPHRIES: I see. That is it, is it? Because we have not told the Justice Committee, then he is entitled to make up any figures he likes. Apparently Mr Hargreaves believes that if he has not had the information supplied to him he can make up any figures he wants. He says, "It is all right. I have not had the figures supplied to me. In that case, I will make them up instead". It does not become the people of this place, particularly those opposite, to take that approach.

The fact is that the people of Woden are going to get a substantial boost in the provision of emergency services, including police services, from the establishment of a JESC in that valley. It will bring together those services in a cost-effective way. It will improve the

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