Page 36 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Under standing order 118 (b), you have directed him to come to the subject matter of the question. The purpose of the question was to ask him why he made statements. He refuses to answer the question. He flouts your authority. He should be made to answer the question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth, I think that in the course of responding to the question, the Chief Minister is entitled to ask the rhetorical question of why it was not asked of the Treasurer.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, it is because it is about his words.

MR STANHOPE: The bottom line is—and I do hope there is a supplementary—in relation to issues around the GST and the tax mix that I think we are all aware that the states and territories, in a negotiated arrangement with the commonwealth, have agreed to progressively phase out a range of taxes and charges. There is a position on the table. A couple of the jurisdictions—I do not have these things on the top of my head; Mr Quinlan does—

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.


MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, the recently released Productivity Commission report on government services contained a five-year snapshot of policing in the territory. Can you inform the Assembly what this snapshot revealed about police services in the ACT?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I am pleased to report to the Assembly that the Productivity Commission report on government services shows that ACT Policing is better funded and supported by the ACT government now than five years ago under the Liberals.

Mr Speaker, as you know, the Stanhope government has shown a significant commitment to policing in the territory and to keeping our community safe. Since the October 2001 election, the Stanhope government has increased government investment in police services from $65.3 million in the last Liberal budget, when the current opposition leader was minister for police, to $94.4 million in 2005-06. Spending has increased.

There has also been an increase in police numbers and an increase in the number of sworn and operational police. In 2000-01, the ACT had a total of 776 police, 591 of whom were sworn. This has increased to 802 police in 2004-05, 606 of whom are sworn. This is set out in black and white, yet the opposition spokesperson tries to mislead the public by blustering that the Stanhope government is “allowing police capacity to drop”. This new independent report proves that the opposition have it wrong and that not only have police numbers increased under the Stanhope government, but also that we now have more sworn police officers than in 2000-01, when the Liberals were last in government.

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