Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4837 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
some good ideas about how we can work to improve law and order in the ACT without the simple knee-jerk reaction of increasing sentences or having more police on the beat.
There is a break-in-the-cycle program running in Victoria which helps break the inter-generational cycles of abuse, violence, addictions, institutionalisation and poverty for young people at risk through an intensive arts-based and education program. Women ex-prisoners with a history of drug addiction work with youth at risk during the early stages of anti-social behaviour and the substance-abuse cycle.
In Queensland they have running an initiative called "Picture the peace, reject the violence". It is designed to educate 12 to 18-year-olds about healthy, violence-free relationships. The focus is broadly on relationships rather than violence and uses printed resource and education sessions.
Doing anger differently is a program running in New South Wales. It is a community-based project conducted in secondary schools. The schools refer angry, violent and aggressive boys to the program and the groups meet with two social workers twice a week for a term to work through their issues.
There is a your choice program, which is operating in New South Wales. It is a two-hour short course designed to reduce the reliance on law enforcement methods of dealing with under-age drinking. When young people are detected committing any alcohol-related offence, they are invited to attend the program in lieu of receiving an infringement notice.
A whole lot of these different programs that were recognised as national winners and receiving certificates of merit looked at how we can reduce crime, how we can help our members of the community without locking people away and without putting extra stress on the police force that is already operating. There is an amazing number of projects here working with a whole range of complex issues. I think the ACT government should look at what is going on across Australia and see what we can pick up and use here.
Although it appears that we are not learning from what is happening across the nation, as I said, the debates that we are having seem to be about fostering fear and promoting fear instead of working to alleviate that fear and actually reduce crime. As an example of that, we need to look at the Justice and Community Safety annual reports, which have specifically in their purview crime prevention programs. But over the last two financial years they have run below target. Programs have been dropped or not run as they should be, and there is always this concern that we are not actually implementing community crime prevention programs as we say we should.
There is always a little money left over that is not then being put back into crime prevention programs, supporting Neighbourhood Watch or any other of those other initiatives that are out there. I think that is very concerning. I think that is something we need to look at further. What are we currently doing with our resources in terms of crime prevention? Why are not we meeting our targets for crime prevention programs? How can we be working more efficiently to actually make sure that what we want to see happening, which is a reduction of crime-working with the community-is happening? Why isn't it happening even though we are setting aside significant amounts of money for this every year.