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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2398 ..



I now turn to community policing. We have seen, as part of this chop in the northern district, that Gungahlin police station will lose its 24-hour status. Why would that be? Does that make policing better? If we are all about community policing, if we are all about preventing crime, we should be talking about maintaining a presence wherever we possibly can. If the police can demonstrate that they attain efficiencies by shutting down that police station for 12 hours of the 24, well fine, but let us be convinced, and I am not yet convinced of that.

Mr Speaker, I am concerned because while at least this steady, safe but bland budget is on course, we are not seeing too many value-added initiatives. In estimates I asked Mr Wood whether he would be honouring a pre-election promise that the ALP government would restore police numbers to the national average. He definitely moved around on that. I don't know whether he was trying to say that they already have, or whether he has an intention to try to achieve that target. So let us see where we go from there.

The only value adding I have seen so far is that undertaken by the police themselves in respect of their own internal reorganisations and their own very good training. I would like to see more imaginative budget management in place which would seek to make the police that much more effective and increase new capabilities. But at least they are in good hands with John Murray and with Mick Keelty backing him up in the AFP. The government has certainly at least got them going in the right direction, and I guess we should be pleased to see that. But let us get the answers on these questions about numbers.


(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (11.36): Mr Speaker, I thank members for their support of this particular line of the budget. A couple of interesting issues have been raised, particularly by Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas, in relation to restorative justice and issues around corrections and punishment, and I will take the opportunity to respond to them quickly.

Ms Tucker quite rightly raised the issue of the need for us as a community to concentrate much harder and be more committed and devoted to issues around restorative justice. That comment does strike a chord with me. I think there is much more that we should be doing in relation to true restorative justice initiatives and principles. I don't think we do enough in relation to that, just as we as a community need to concentrate more on youth justice. I accept the comments that Ms Tucker made in relation to that.

There is a road for us to travel in relation to alternative approaches to justice, and to corrections in particular. The days of lock 'em up and throw the key away should be well and truly past, but to some extent it always seems to me to be an easy option for jurisdictions, and indeed perhaps for courts and for the community generally, just to say, "Oh, well."I acknowledge the points that Ms Tucker made in relation to that.

Ms Dundas expanded on the issue of corrections by raising issues around the government's commitment to the construction of a new remand centre and prison. Certainly, Mr Speaker, I think it does need to be iterated that the government's

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