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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1644 ..

There are other areas I would like to talk on at greater length but time will prevent me from doing so. I am pleased that work is underway to try and address the issue of water and water storage, but the fact is that, when there was an opportunity to recognise that we were likely to face problems of water capacity and storage—some years ago, almost four years ago—those needs and future demands were dismissed, for political reasons, and the territory is now suffering.

Many people get great pleasure out of their gardens. Many have lost substantial amounts of money as a result of plants dying and so forth. Is this essential to our community? Probably not. But the fact is that it is a substantial cost and it is an area of pleasure that many retired people have enjoyed and who now lament the fact that, thanks to the rather poor management of water policy in this territory, they have paid a personal price for this government’s lack of vision. Progress seems to be in train. I welcome initiatives to expand our dam capacity and I hope that we reach a situation where permanent water conservation measures which are embraced within the government’s program are not seen as the solution to problems but that the government embraces a permanent planning approach that recognises climate change and the potential demands of a growing community and that provision is made appropriately to meet the needs of this growing community.

I have not touched on a number of areas. There is mention, in the government’s glossy-cover book, of police and how many extra policemen are available. That is great. It is great to have more police, but the fact of the matter is that we have got to get action in terms of offenders in this territory. I still do not know where the problem lies, but too often I hear people say, “I lodged a complaint and nothing else happened.” Talk to police when they are not in an official discussion and they tell you that it is the fault of the courts and they feel totally frustrated by the inability to get appropriate sentencing.

I was talking to a young lad who is a friend of my son the other night. I did not know about this, but he said, “I was assaulted at the Mawson Club on 22 October.” He was there with one of his mates. I know the family. He is not a bar room brawler. He has now got a permanent scar across his face. He filed a report with the police but has never heard another word. They knew the culprits. It was a vicious and cowardly assault on two young Canberrans by some thugs. There is security video that has never been reviewed and the security staff at the club have never been contacted.

On the other hand, I heard of an assault on a fellow who is a friend of one of my staff here, two weeks ago at a bar in Civic. To the credit of police, on this occasion the perpetrator, who slashed a glass across this fellow’s ear, has been charged and will be before the court, so I will not elaborate on that. But I am troubled that too many people express frustration at the lack of progress after a complaint is made. I would like to see that area toughened—not just more people but results.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.00): The 2008 ACT budget reveals much about the approach of the Stanhope government towards governing the ACT, and what is revealed is not a pretty sight. What it shows is a government that is content to sail close to the wind, much longer, with a much larger government, and much closer. The

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