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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4413 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

necessarily specific to Manuka. The police have become very adept through their intelligence-based practices, through Operation Halite, at targeting and aiming their investigations at key areas. For just over a year now Operation Halite has been targeting people committing property and drug supply offences. It has had many successes, including the reduction of average weekly burglary offences by 25 per cent.

Bear in mind that some recent statistics I saw indicate that the incidence of burglary had peaked just before we came to government. Then they went down. Can I say that there is a little bit of a creep upwards again at the moment because heroin is back on the streets, and that has got probably most to do with these sorts of things. Since Operation Halite began on 28 October last year the average weekly burglary rate has fallen from 142 to 106. So the measures, without horses, are successful.

Of course, the aim of the police and of this government is to reduce that even more. Since the start of January this year the average weekly burglary rate has decreased significantly, and at one point was as low as 57. That has not been maintained but it is being very effectively done. Halite investigators have apprehended 93 offenders since 1 September 2003, with the majority of these being recidivists. This has culminated in an average of 85 reported burglaries per week in the last three weeks.

So what the police are doing is successful. I am well aware-as the police are, of course, more than anybody-that there are incidents in various places. I can say that the police are much alert to that and they will refine their targeting as problems emerge or, indeed, ahead of that in very many circumstances.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, why should Manuka residents and businesspeople accept your assurances that you are managing police resources effectively when there has been an average of three burglaries per week in the area recently?

MR WOOD: I will go back in time if you like. I could dig out the statistics and find when there were probably more than that. Let me say that three burglaries a week is too many. There is no question about that and we want always to improve the circumstances. But I can tell you that from the material I have, part of which I have given you today, the police are on top of the issues and they are performing very well with the way that they target their resources. They do a good job. If you ask me a question about police horses I will be happy to answer it.

Health action plan

MRS CROSS: My question is to Mr Corbell in his capacity as the Minister for Health. Minister, this morning I received an answer to a question that you took on notice on 23 September this year. I was amazed that, firstly, it had taken you so long to answer it and, secondly, that the answer was incomplete and, obviously, something of a brush-off. Minister, can you explain to the Assembly why it has taken you so long to answer a question on a fundamental issue within your portfolio, namely, your health action plan?

MR CORBELL: I am not familiar with the particular circumstances surrounding the question, but I will take the question on notice and provide an answer to Mrs Cross.

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