Page 2189 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005
The ACT actually exceeds the national average expenditure on police services. According to the Productivity Commission’s report on government services for 2005, real recurrent expenditure—less revenue from own sources and payroll tax—on police services across Australia was approximately $5.2 billion, or $259 per person, in 2003-04. Let me repeat that: the national average expenditure on police services was $259 per person. ACT government real recurrent expenditure on police services was $270 per person in 2003-04; that is, $11 a person greater than the national average. Only the Northern Territory, at $637, and Western Australia, at $294, spend more money per person on police services.
The ACT is different from other jurisdictions. Variations in policy, socioeconomic factors and geographic/demographic characteristics have an impact on the expenditure on police services in each jurisdiction. The scope of activities undertaken by police services also varies across jurisdictions. This is important information that Mr Pratt ought to listen to. An analysis of the police annual reports for the various jurisdictions illustrates differences in police services provided between other jurisdictions and the ACT. Mr Pratt does not listen because he is not interested in knowing the truth.
Other police services have functions that the ACT police force does not need to fulfil. For the benefit of Mr Pratt, who is chatting away, and Dr Foskey, who probably does not know because I did not either, other jurisdictions count police prosecutors, for example. Most jurisdictions employ them. In the ACT, all prosecutions are handled by the DPP. Police prosecutors are counted as police numbers in other jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions—for example, Queensland—employ police to prevent and investigate stock-related crime in rural areas. There is very little demand in the ACT for a dedicated police force because of its urban nature. I think we have one officer dedicated to it.
Marine and water police are another example. Most jurisdictions have a dedicated water police team to investigate marine crime and ensure the safety and security of coastlines and waterways. The ACT’s geographic position means that the need for such specialist services is very limited. Interstate, those officers are counted in police numbers. Another example is railway squads. Some jurisdictions offer train patrols. An extensive train network system is not in place in the ACT. Jurisdictions with large indigenous populations employ a significant number of Aboriginal liaison officers. For example, in Western Australian there were 125 of them—they were sworn officers and this was a head count, not FTEs—in 2004.
Some things are the same in every jurisdiction. According to the Productivity Commission, community safety and support accounted for the largest component—46.3 per cent—of the expenditure on police services across jurisdictions in 2003-04. Looking across the jurisdictions, the proportion of expenditure on community safety and support was the highest in the ACT at 65.8 per cent. The lowest count was in Queensland at 33.8 per cent. Let me repeat that: the proportion of policing expenditure on community safety and support was the highest in the ACT. The focus of policing in the ACT is on community policing. Mr Pratt does not believe that.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind members in this place that police numbers are not static. The numbers actually fluctuate throughout the year, depending upon operational requirements, recruitment rates, retirements, resignations and transfers in and