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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2399 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

We have done a fair bit recently with Neighbourhood Watch. Extra money has gone into it and there is a training program for it. Ms Tucker mentioned that police should not be given more discretion. I must disagree with her there. I think the police force is one of the most disciplined groups and one of the best trained groups in our society. Our police force has consistently shown that it can use discretion wisely. It also has a huge amount of checks against it in terms of abuse of the use of such discretion, ranging from the police internal affairs division through to the ombudsman and the courts. There are ample checks on police abuse of any powers they have. In my considerable experience in this territory, they are not only one of the most controlled groups in the territory, but also one of the best trained for using discretion. It is no drama for me to give police any reasonable power they need, because they have consistently shown themselves to be well trained in terms of exercising it and they certainly have all the checks against them in case anyone does step over the mark.

Mr Speaker, I do not think I need to go on any longer. I thank members for their comments. I assume that this part of the budget will be passed without opposition.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 17-Education and Community Services, $419,905,000 (net cost of outputs), $29,235,000 (capital injection) and $132,606,000 (payments on behalf of the Territory), totalling $581,746,000.

MR BERRY (9.09): Truly, this is the budget of lost opportunities. No matter what this government says about its record in education, what it has spent and what it promises it will do in the next five years, it now knows that Labor will do more. We will spend more and we will provide more for kids in our schools, particularly when you see the wasteful election promise about free school buses. It is necessary to draw attention to that matter because of the opportunity this government has been lost. I have heard that the government are moaning about the alleged $334 million.

Mr Stefaniak: The $334.5 million.

MR BERRY: The $334.5 million. If you take into account the $250 million worth of extra Commonwealth funding this government has taken, the thousands of public servants who have lost their jobs, the Bruce Stadium, the hospital implosion, the Feel the Power campaign, the Futsal slab, the Floriade fee and so on, you can see that it all adds up to not much gain over the period of this government's office, particularly when you take into account those wasteful programs which have frittered away much of the benefits which could have been held in reserve for the community. Education, more than any other part of this budget, is an area in which more could have been done.

The government has boasted proudly of marking time-I think that is the fairest way to describe it-with its funding of education. It has basically said, "We have kept up with inflation." They say they have. The Productivity Commission would disagree and many in the education community would disagree that the government has kept up.

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