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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 39 ..

Crime investigation-expenditure

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the minister for police. Minister, according to the latest Productivity Commission report, the largest increase in expenditure on crime investigation occurred in the ACT, with expenditure rising $10 per head of population. The figure for victims of unlawful entry in the ACT has increased, rising over the term of this government, over a five-year period, to 47 per cent, and motor vehicle thefts in the ACT are now the highest in the country. Why is it, Minister, that the ACT increases expenditure but crime levels continue to escalate?

MR SMYTH: The problem for those who take a simplistic analysis of the Productivity Commission report is that they will get caught out when they do not represent the present. I put out a press release on this information. The information is public. The government's initiative in the current year's budget has seen extra police officers and extra funding available for police activity. The trend this year so far is a 19 per cent reduction in burglary and a 32 per cent reduction in motor vehicle theft. If you want to take a simplistic analysis of year-old data and try to present it here in the Assembly as the present situation, you will get caught out.

MR HARGREAVES: I thank the minister for that enlightening answer. My supplementary question is: Minister, are you aware that New South Wales decreased it expenditure on crime investigation, yet in 1999 they had a downturn in motor vehicle thefts and victims of unlawful entry. Why is it that New South Wales can decrease expenditure and crime but the ACT has the opposite result, with an increase in expenditure and crime over most of the areas reported?

MR SMYTH: I am sorry I do not have the chart with me, but if you look back at the Labor years you will see that in five years of Labor government the number of police officers in the ACT went down. Under this government, sound financial management has allowed us to put extra resources back into the police force and turn the trend around. If you want to take a simplistic analysis of year-old data presented by the Productivity Commission, that is fine. The people of the ACT will know you for your analytical abilities. But the reality is that if you want to get the up-to-date figures, I say again that the trend data for this year shows a 19 per cent reduction in burglary offences and a 32 per cent reduction in motor vehicle thefts.

Gold Creek School

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak. On Sunday, 11 February, in the Canberra Times, there was an allegation that a class of 60 Year 1 students had been established at Gold Creek school.

Mr Corbell: It is true.

MRS BURKE: Minister, what are the facts with respect to claims by some parents and by Mr Corbell?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, might I say how honoured I am to get the first question from our newest member, and it is a wonderful question. I heard Mr Corbell say, "It is true." Nothing could be further from the truth.

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