Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2573 ..
There is an interesting story to be told as to what Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak knew about previously. I am told Mr Smyth was not here-I beg pardon.
MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Wood-and, by the way, it is good to see you back on your feet. I refer to the following quotes in the Canberra Sunday Times of 22 June from Laurie Hutchinson of the Australian Federal Police Association:
These cuts in numbers create even more stress and tension on already overstretched resources.
He goes on to say:
Another major concern we have is that the six patrol cars at City Station have also been cut down to two or three which is just not good enough and, as a result, jobs [calls from the community] are being missed.
The ACT opposition has also received complaints from citizens in Woden that their calls to the Woden police station are not being answered. How can the people of Canberra feel safe when their phone calls to ACT police stations are not being answered?
MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I think when answering questions last week, or in some other debate here, I indicated clearly what telephone numbers should be used for calls. If you need urgency you ring 000 and-here is a test for me as for you-if you require immediate police attention, it is 131444. In general, you would only ring police stations when you have to make a routine call to an officer on some follow-up issue. So that should ease the situation. In that circumstance, all calls are appropriately and well dealt with.
MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Mr Wood, I see that you do not claim that there has been a cut in resources. If there has not been, why do we have a situation where the number of police cars patrolling the city district has been cut from six to two, phone calls to police stations are not being answered and Gungahlin no longer has a 24-hour patrol service? If our capability is fine, why are these things happening?
MR WOOD: I can respond to the Gungahlin one. I have not sought information on any supposed cut from six to two in the city but I will seek information on whether or not that is the case.
As to Gungahlin, it was staffed on a temporary basis, a trial basis and a full time basis. The trial quite simply showed that it is not justifiable to maintain an open presence of law there 24 hours a day. It is simply not justified, and that is what the trial showed.
I think members will agree that in any circumstance the calls that you would make overnight would be either 000 or 131444. Those calls direct cars to where they are needed.
Mr Smyth: There are no cars.