Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3063 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
policy. They are very good at talking about how they do everything in a consultative way, looking at the policy implications. But when it came to a handful of votes, they buckled.
Now the much-needed Woden police station will be built. It is absolutely imperative that the Woden Police Station be built, and there is no-one on this side of the house who will begrudge the police officers in Woden a better situated and better appointed building than they currently have. But at what cost? Of the $7.2 million that was set aside to build three stations, $5 million is going on one station.
At some stage in the future the government are still going to have to build a new ambulance station and a new fire station, which they say will probably be co-located. They are not against the notion of co-location; it is just that it was too difficult in the election environment for them to stick to their guns and do something worthwhile for the people of Woden. This will mean a downgrading of services for Woden, an increase in response times and an overall poorer service for the people of Woden.
There is a pattern developing here. I am sure my colleague Mr Smyth will talk about the prison and remand centre, where, again, this government spends a little bit of money and wastes a whole lot more. It thinks it is being smart by only spending $5 million on the police station and saving $2.2 million. But in the long run it will cost the territory dearly, in the same way as will the piecemeal approach of the current minister towards the remand centre. We are seeing a pattern here, a pattern of parsimony in the first instance that will later cost us dearly.
MS TUCKER (4.27): The Estimates Committee spent a lot of time discussing the remand centre, the temporary remand centre and the prison. These are real issues. But today I will raise the question of the prevention of crime and the people who are getting caught up in the criminal justice system.
While it is generally acknowledged that early intervention is a key component of crime prevention, last year's efforts resulted in a 55 per cent underexpenditure of crime prevention funds. While the minister for police, in reply to questions on notice, advised me that they will collect information to allow for effective evaluation of the program in the future, it does not appear that existing programs, with the exception, perhaps, of the motor vehicle theft project, reflect contemporary thinking.
From the reply to a question regarding the scope for collaborative projects with community organisations, I learnt that there is a lot of potential in existing programs but that only the motor vehicle project is constructed in such a way. I am aware of several youth organisations that are interested in working with police on such collaborative endeavours who were dismayed at the failure of police to expend funds last year. They are probably concerned that if the police end up short of numbers the same thing will happen again.
In other words, the idea of working in partnership with NGOs needs to permeate JACS, particularly in areas where innovation is critical. We hope to see more evidence of such an approach at the end of the year.