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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4836 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Certainly we do have younger recruits, some that are not long from university. But these days the police force is much better able, because of the attraction of the service, to attract people with very good backgrounds that give them, I think, a pretty good jumping off point for the policing work that they do.

Mr Speaker, Mr Pratt's matter of public importance has been a fizzer. It is about the state of law and order, and he could only talk about the unsustainable mounted police team and about their numbers. He has no case because his colleagues in the last Assembly had no record to speak of.

Nevertheless, that will not stop this Liberal opposition from frequently raising the issue of law and order. They cannot find any better issue. Mind you, Mr Speaker, I think this one will sink because the arguments given by Mr Pratt today simply have no weight. They have no substance. I suggest they try to find something else to direct their attention to.

MS DUNDAS (3.56): Mr Speaker, I said yesterday, when we were talking about the sentencing bill, that this Assembly would be undoubtedly discussing law and order before the next election. Somehow I thought we would have at least one day's grace on that debate, but it appears the Liberal Party has become more obsessed with the state of law and order in the ACT than I thought.

Once again, we are talking about punishment and about police numbers rather than talking about serious ways to stop crime. I think the ACT should be adopting the best practices for crime prevention from around Australia to improve the state of law and order in the territory.

Sadly, at last month's Australian Crime Advance Prevention Awards, only two out of the 59 recognised programs were from the territory. These were the perpetrator education program "Learning to relate without violence and abuse", and the counselling program for offenders of family violence, which are run by ACT Corrective Services, and the YMec program run by the Billabong Aboriginal community. Both of these are excellent programs and very deserving winners at the national level.

But I think we should be looking at what we can learn from the other winners-what is going on in other states and territories around the nation. The national winners were the Victorian life work violence prevention program, which is a whole-of-family early intervention program for men who abuse their partners and children, and for women and children who experience domestic and family violence.

Another winner was the bush break-away youth action program for South Australia, which places identified participants on the challenging offending pathway for 12 to 18 months. The new living initiative, which has been happening in Western Australia, upgrades older public housing estates, including the refurbishment of dwellings, redesigning paths, upgrading lighting and using safe city designs to assist in reducing crime and allowing residents to feel safer in their community.

There were a huge number of great ideas that came through the 59 programs that won at the national awards. I would like to mention a few more of them, hopefully to spark

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