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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 353 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

in early March and that schools have been kept informed of the issues surrounding the delay in the provision of the reports.

Bail reform

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Attorney-General. Mr Attorney, last year, while you were still in opposition, the ALP was opposed to the extension of bail reform when bail legislation was being amended to deal with accused who had reoffended whilst on VATACs and summonses. Will the government now concede that the bail amendments passed last year in May and August in the Assembly have resulted in major reductions in crime, particularly by taking repeat offenders off the streets?

MR STANHOPE: Thanks for the question, Mr Stefaniak. I do recall the amendments that were passed, and I do recall that I had some concerns with them. I will not concede that they are the basis of the claims you make, Mr Stefaniak. I do not know what evidence you have. I do not know what rigorous assessment of reductions in crime you have carried out or have available to you that indicate that you have the capacity or the potential to say there has been a reduction in crime because of those amendments.

It is a long bow, I think, Mr Stefaniak. It is one view, certainly, but there are a whole range of views around. I would think perhaps one of the other views around is the fact that we are in the middle of a heroin drought. I think that would be a very significant reason for a reduction in crime in the ACT.

One thing I do remember about that period, Mr Stefaniak, is that you and your then leader combined as successive Attorneys-General to turn Canberra into the car theft and burglary capital of Australia. I understand that we still suffer from inordinately high car theft rates, a legacy of your stewardship of the territory. Some of the statistics I remember from the time are that under you and Mr Humphries the ACT had the highest burglary rate per capita in Australia-another legacy of you and Mr Humphries. The ACT also had the highest car theft rate in Australia-another legacy of you and Mr Humphries.

Mr Stefaniak: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. He is absolutely, blatantly wrong, which I suppose I can correct later.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, I know you are having difficulty hearing the answer to the question, because all of your colleagues are busy interjecting and you seem to be pretty content. Everybody should sit quietly and wait for the answer to be completed. Are you finished, Chief Minister?

MR STANHOPE: I summarise by saying that there are a whole range of reasons that have affected crime rates in the ACT. There are some who suggest that amendments to the Bail Act are part of the reason. There are some who insist that the major change in the criminal profile at the moment is a result of the nature of drugs and the fact that there is far less heroin around. Significant numbers of injecting heroin users who were committing crimes here may have left the town or are now using different drugs. The nature of the crime scene, particularly the drug injecting crime scene, has changed fairly significantly.

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