Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 852 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
inevitably going to have some impact on the ACT region. In effect, the cost of those police will rise and no doubt the Government will have to consider whether it wishes to increase the payment for those police to cover that additional cost or whether it expects some reduction in the extent of service or even the number of police to meet the extra cost which has flowed on from the fact that we have those police in our region.
Mr Speaker, I certainly am concerned about the situation. I believe it is an issue that will have to go on the table for the other discussions which are ongoing with the Commonwealth Government. I hope that it will be made perfectly clear to the Commonwealth Government that the ACT does not consider it to be its responsibility if there is a cost to the AFP because they need to pay out redundancies for officers who are retiring. We pay our $54m a year for policing in the ACT. We expect to get 699 police for that dollar amount. We do not expect to have the amount suddenly cut because the cost of those police has risen in some way. Mr Speaker, obviously those negotiations have some way to go before I can give a clear picture as to what the view of the Commonwealth is on those questions.
MR HARGREAVES: I thank the Minister for the assurance that he is going to say to the Commonwealth, "It is your problem. You are a contractor". I ask a supplementary question. The Minister has semi-answered it already. Has the Minister had discussions with the AFP regarding the implications of the loss of significant members of the AFP in such an event? How will he address the possible significant shortfall in AFP officers available for policing here?
MR HUMPHRIES: On the first question, I have had discussions with senior officers in the AFP, including the commissioner and the assistant commissioner, Mr Stoll, about a range of issues, and I am sure we have discussed AFTPAS in the context of those discussions. I do not think we have discussed whether AFTPAS payments will be falling to the ACT to pay in the year 2000. I suppose it is because it is my view that that is a matter for them to deal with and not a matter that concerns me to any great extent.
The second question was how we will deal with any shortfall in officers. I repeat that my view is that it is the Commonwealth's responsibility to supply us with police officers. If they, for example, were to experience some shortage of officers in some respect, they should deal with that shortage by reducing other areas of AFP operations around Australia. We pay for our 699 police here, and therefore we should not have that number affected by any shortages that might take place at the Commonwealth level with respect to the establishment of the Federal Police.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister indicate what action she has taken following her commitment to the round table meeting of ACTTAB stakeholders on 14 September last year to consider all the options for ACTTAB's future and to discuss it with the stakeholders further?