Page 827 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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helping quite significantly in fighting crime; you are being a good citizen; and it certainly means a lot to individual Neighbourhood Watch organisations.

I will close by thanking everyone involved in Neighbourhood Watch in the territory. They do a sterling job; they are very deserving of our support. They do need to be put on a more secure financial basis. I think I have indicated quite clearly how that should occur. Again, my congratulations to everyone involved in Neighbourhood Watch, the police who actually service them and the people in the community who respond to the newsletters and who become, effectively, the eyes and ears of the community.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.45): The government will be supporting the motion from Mr Mulcahy. I must say at first pass I thought this motion was probably more appropriately delivered in the context of an adjournment debate because we generally raise individual things like that in the context of an adjournment debate. But I think it is a good call actually to pick out a Neighbourhood Watch system in a suburb that is working and hold it up as a model. I think that is quite worthy of praise.

Mrs Burke raised a point which I think is well worth raising in the public arena—and certainly I will be raising it in my discussions with the Chief Police Officer—with respect to Neighbourhood Watch, and that is the demographics of the actual committees themselves. She is quite right when she says that most committees in fact that exist in Canberra do not have too many young people on them. And interestingly, young people are the people who are often at home at that time of day when people are about doing home invasions. They will have a crack between 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock, for example. And a lot of people are just returning home. In fact, if we can get the young people, say, in their later years of high school, who are returning home, to be involved in this sort of thing, then, of course, they will be alert to odd things happening in their neighbourhood and will be able to appropriately act on that.

I think Mr Pratt and Mr Mulcahy both alluded to one of the problems that we have been facing with Neighbourhood Watch, when both Mr Stefaniak and Mr Wood were police minister—and now I face it—and that is the sustainability of the committees themselves. What happens, of course, we know, is that a community will come together—a new one or one which has sort of copped a bit. In the case of Isaacs, that was the imperative, a need to get a bit of revitalisation. In Gungahlin, it is because the suburbs are new.

People come together and they will be, if you like, enthused by a couple of people who have got a little bit more energy than most people in the area. And the good thing that comes out of that is the creation of a Neighbourhood Watch committee. You will find that it is two or three people, as is the case with almost every committee that I have ever been associated with. I am sure those opposite will appreciate this. Usually the same 50 people in the community are on all of the committees. These people will go and do extraordinary hours and will create all the structures.

We have got to remember that—I do not know what you call it; I suppose “demographics of this town”—we tend to move. I think we have something like three or four moves in our time in Canberra. I know that I came to Canberra and lived in Garran; I went to O’Connor; I went to Belconnen for 10 years; then I went back to O’Connor; then to

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