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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 851 ..

MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister is happy to take it on notice, Mr Kaine. That is fair enough.

MR KAINE: So we wait another 30 days? Beauty!

MR SPEAKER: I would imagine that she may answer them together, but that is a matter for the Chief Minister.

Police Force

MR HARGREAVES: We can wait another six to eight weeks. My question through you, Mr Speaker, is to the Minister for Justice and Community Safety. The Minister is no doubt aware that a significant number - some reports say as high as 80 per cent - of AFP officers come to the end of their 10-year contract this year. The arrangements for termination of those contracts involve reasonably large lump sum payments to those officers who elect to leave the AFP. Can the Minister advise the Assembly whether the ACT, under the terms of the contract, has any responsibility for paying out such funds or reimbursing the AFP for such pay-outs? Does the current contract include provision for such pay-outs in the event that officers of the AFP ACT region take up the lump sum option?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Hargreaves for his question. I certainly am aware that when contracts of a number of AFP officers - as Mr Hargreaves says, possibly as many as 80 per cent of the total establishment of the AFP - expire in about the middle of next year there is a possibility of a very significant turnover of officers in the AFP. Obviously, in the very worst case scenario, if 80 per cent of officers in the AFP nationally, across Australia, were not to renew their contracts, the extent of disruption would be absolutely enormous. I am working on the assumption, based on no more than my expectation that such a large number of people would not want to get out of an organisation in such a short space of time and expect to find some other work to do, that that will not happen, but we must assume that some reasonably high-level officers may in fact choose to leave the AFP.

We must also assume that it is possible that a large proportion could be among those who are presently serving the ACT region. Although it is not clear and we will not have a clearer picture until the next few months, when I understand the commissioner will be seeking expressions of interest from officers as to what they intend to do on the expiry of their contracts, we need to have contingency plans in place to deal with those issues.

The contract, to the best of my recollection, makes no reference at all to AFTPAS payments or to the ACT Government being asked to contribute to the cost of those things. But the reality is that there are many unsatisfactory elements of the contract between the ACT Government and the Commonwealth Government on policing in the ACT, and the reality is that if the costs of what is happening in the ACT region rise there will inevitably be some flow-on to the level of operation in the ACT region. For example, recently negotiated pay rises for Federal Police across the board are almost

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