Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 February 2008) . . Page.. 203 ..
needed to be stomped on. As well as having on-the-spot fines, there also needs to be a public awareness campaign; perhaps signs need to be put up to make it quite plain to members of the public that antisocial behaviour simply will not be tolerated and that people will be subject to punishment. I commend the motion.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.18): As the Leader of the Opposition said in opening this debate, there are serious concerns around the subject of violence in Civic, Manuka and a couple of other places. But, as he also said, there is a strong perception about violence in those areas, and that perception is debatable. Certainly at the roundtable sponsored by the opposition, there was a school of thought in the room that perhaps the perception of violence is somewhat overdone. There were even a couple of people who talked about the media perhaps playing on the matter and talking it up a little too loudly. However, it was also very noticeable at that roundtable that a significant majority of people at the meeting felt there was a concern. Regardless of whether or not the trend lines are seriously up, the view expressed by a significant number of the people participating in the roundtable was that the problem exists. There may be some improvements in policing and behaviour, but the feeling is that there are still issues which have to be addressed.
From my perspective, my main role here in this debate is to talk about the transport aspects—taxis and buses—as they relate to this issue around violence in Civic and the need to make Civic a really comfortable place on Friday and Saturday nights. I am going to talk a bit about that. There is no doubt that we have to respond to the concerns. The government is clearly responding in some way to some of those concerns. We think there is a lot more which must be done, which is why Mr Seselja has put this motion on the table today.
Before I get into the issues regarding Nightrider and Nightlink which I want to speak about, I will just make a quick comment about the CCTV system. I am pleased to hear the minister saying that work has commenced at the Jolimont Centre on the CCTV coverage. I do not know what he means. Does he mean that physically they are starting to put the hardware in or that there is a scoping study? Regardless, I am pleased to hear that.
We know that, of the 15 CCTV cameras sitting in and around the bus interchange and Alinga Street area of Civic and back around to the other side, there have been problems with at least two, and perhaps even as many as four for quite some time. Certainly ACTION staff are concerned that those cameras have not been consistently working for a long time. I hope when the minister gives us this message that they are now moving on the Jolimont Centre that he also means that the network in and around Alinga Street and down to the eastern edges of Civic are also being examined as we speak. Bus drivers have been expressing the view that the CCTV system has been inadequate in and around the bus interchange by day and by night for a very, very long time. Will that CCTV system now include 24/7 monitoring of those cameras to give ACTION bus drivers, taxi drivers and the police who man the City police beat that additional bit of security backup.
The government has this Nightrider program in place. I must confess, I do not know exactly how it is working at the moment. I have put questions on notice about this particular matter, and I certainly will write to the minister and ask for a more detailed