Page 2195 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005
the debate about the size and nature of ACT policing until I have seen this report—and I am not alone in this opinion.
The Australian Federal Police Association, which has long been concerned about the size and nature of police in the ACT, is also keen to see this report. I am not sure whether the minister will allow them to, though, going by his interjections over there. As such, I request that the minister for police make a commitment to provide at least a public version, if he is concerned about some of the content of this report, as soon as practicable. I suspect that, if the minister does not at least do this we will have to conjecture—perhaps to the government’s disadvantage—about the content of that report, and I would strongly advise that it be released. At this point in time I am not going to support either this motion or the amendment but please be aware that I have every intention of fully engaging in the debate about the size and nature of ACT policing once I have seen a copy of the Policing for the future report.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.30): Once again, Mr Pratt wants a copper at the bottom of every driveway and one at every letterbox. Obviously he has never done shift work. I can advise both Mr Pratt and the Assembly that any operation that requires 24-hour attendance will require short notice shift fills or double shifts. When a shift becomes vacant due to sick leave or operational requirements, does he want us to leave it vacant? Does he want us to leave a car off the road? I can assure members—after doing shift work for 12 years—that this is how rostering works. I can also assure the Assembly that, as a resident of Calwell, I visit the Calwell shops daily and that I regularly see police visits to the Calwell shops.
Minister Hargreaves’s amendment appropriately reflects the concern shared by the ACT government and the Australian Federal Police to achieve a reduction in crime in the ACT and to work with the community to ensure that Canberra is a safe place to live and work. This concern is reflected in the ACT government’s expenditure on policing in the ACT. An increase of more than $20 million in government expenditure since 2001 has seen significant reductions in the broad range of crime types over the last 12 months.
The total number of offences reported to police has fallen by almost 17 per cent since 30 June last year. Burglary offences have dropped by 25 per cent, and motor vehicle theft is down by 27 per cent. There have also been drops in armed robbery and non-sexual assault cases. Sexual assault rates have dropped by 40 per cent in the same period. Fraud and misappropriation offences have dropped by nearly 40 per cent. Property crime offences have also dropped significantly, and drug offences are down by 15 per cent.
These figures demonstrate a significant reduction in crime in the ACT, and that the strategies and investment of the ACT government and the Australian Federal Police, in working to achieve better community safety in the territory, are paying off. These very positive results are indicative of the fact that ACT residents can have faith in the police and in the government, and that we are working together to improve public safety and to reduce crime in the territory.
I was pleased to recently attend a public meeting in my electorate of Brindabella, in which officers from the operation Globin team reported the success of their efforts in reducing incidents of burnouts and street racing in the Tuggeranong area. The success of