Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 3432 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
I am very confident in my own mind that the government has taken the appropriate steps to fix it and to fix it in the long term. The world will never return to what it was a couple of years ago because that was a false situation. However, bit by bit, the world is normalising. There are constructive talks now occurring that will in all probability provide affordable insurance for most community groups. There were discussions with the NRMA and with, I think, Queensland Insurance, but I would have to double-check on that.
MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Ms Dundas?
MS DUNDAS: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Quinlan, could you please clarify that? Are you saying that the $600,000 unspent in the crime prevention budget of last year is available to be spent on crime prevention programs such as Neighbourhood Watch this year?
MR QUINLAN: I will give that one a no. Each budget in the main is a discrete document. You have heard Mr Humphries' question today of concerns about the position of the ACT, that is, expenditure in a period versus revenue in a period. If it took some time in the course of the last financial year to mobilise crime prevention activities within the AFP-I forget who was the minister at the time, but we certainly have mobilised the crime prevention activities of the AFP-and that money was unspent, it would not sit on a shelf for use this year. Each year has a discrete budget and expenditure in this year will be counted in this year. Expenditure in this year will be counted against revenue for this year and, should expenditures exceed revenues, we will find the opposition, at least, whipping it up and trying to beat it up into the story of the year.
MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for police and emergency services. National and international experts indicate that mainland Australia is likely to be subject to terrorist attack, and the Bali tragedy has heightened that threat. Minister, do you agree that, as a result of the Bali tragedy and other events in our region, our citizens face an increased risk of being caught up, either intentionally or unintentionally, in terrorist actions against diplomatic and federal targets in the ACT? What instructions have you given to police and emergency services regarding the heightened threats to the community in the wake of recent events and subsequent intelligence flowing from those events?
MR QUINLAN: Let me say, Mr Speaker, that the first half of that question was the bleeding obvious and has been the subject of commentary for the last 10 weeks. What is being done is being done in a very coordinated fashion across Australia, as you would appreciate. Mr Stanhope attended the most recent Police Ministers Council. The various police forces are working together.
Let's be practical: what instructions does a police minister give at this time? The first thing one does is one gets a briefing from the head of police. One has discussions with Mick Keelty, the head of the AFP, as well. We actually go through in an interactive way what should and should not be done. You are probably aware that Mr Murray is reorganising the police force to be able to respond to these matters. It happened before the Bali event that that sort of mobilisation was occurring.