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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2598 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

In line with their stance of living in the past, the opposition, however, claim that the ACT has some of the highest rates of burglary and car theft in Australia, yet, very conveniently, they make no mention of the most recent figures released by the ACT AFP in conjunction with Operation Anchorage. These figures show that burglaries and motor vehicle theft in the ACT have decreased, as discussed by my colleague.

Staffing levels exceeded 750 this year, with an increased reliance on non-sworn personnel to perform a range of administrative functions, freeing up our sworn officers to carry out police duties, a very commendable move. It should also be noted that police no longer carry out prison escort and custodial duties. Officers from Corrective Services perform these duties, and this further frees up valuable police resources.

At this point I would like to congratulate my colleague Brendan Smyth for implementing the volunteer police to assist our officers and allow them to carry out the important jobs like crime prevention. I would like to encourage the minister in his efforts to taking a proactive approach to fighting crime.

There are many excellent measures already set in place for crime prevention in the government's crime prevention strategy, including the closed circuit television cameras in Civic. Already they have proved successful, as a marked decrease in crime and vandalism in the Civic area is evident. There is the Community Crime Prevention Committee, funding for a residential youth detoxification service, and funding for indigenous case management and outreach services. The government has funded additional methadone places and the capacity to provide new pharmacotherapy treatments such as buprenorphine. There is funding for the upgrade of the ACT women's halfway house and many more such projects and programs. Mr Deputy Speaker, these are very positive and practical steps which are addressing the very heart of the matter.

The ACT government is committed to maintaining the region's reputation as a safe place to live, work and raise a family. The government has increased the police budget annually from $51 million in 1994-95 to $64 million in 2000-01. This, of course, is in stark contrast to the decreasing of the police budget from $54 million in 1990-91 to $51 million in 1994-95 under Labor.

The ACT government does not claim to have all the answers to the ACT's crime problem. Of course, if that were the case there would be no crime at all. But at least it is putting forward concrete policies and alternative solutions aimed at addressing crime in the ACT, which I fear is more than can be said for those in opposition at this time.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.28): I, too, would like to support this motion which deals with some significant breakthroughs and advances made over the last 12 months, and the spectacular success of Operation Anchorage. It is worth noting that there are three Liberal ministers, I think, in the current government who have been police ministers during that period. I commend Mr Smyth, who had carriage of Operation Anchorage, for the success of the police force in relation to that.

Mrs Burke raised a very relevant point. It is something that I was well aware of, having been the spokesman on policing matters in the first Assembly. I can clearly recall an estimates committee when Terry Connolly was the police minister and the very

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