Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2325 ..
continues in this year’s budget with the provision of a quarter of a million dollars. The money will provide a continuation of installation of dual-flush toilets, water-saving shower heads and a range of other water-saving measures within public housing properties. I commend this section of the budget to the Assembly.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—part 1.5—Department of Justice and Community Safety—$183,479,000 (net cost of outputs), $53,479,000 (capital injection), $127,664,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $364,622,000
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (10.19): I have been waiting with bated breath for two days for this. Firstly, I must say I have been a little bit concerned to see the length of time it has taken for some of the questions taken on notice to actually get answered. Normally, I think that it is meant to be about two or three days. In some instances, there are still a couple of questions which have not been answered. It has taken anything up to about a month. I would like to put on record my concern in relation to that. That is not something that I have actually seen terribly much of in the past; normally, they have been answered a lot quicker.
There are a few specific areas. I am pleased to see that the budget provides for some additional liquor inspectors in the Office of Regulatory Services. That increase in resources will enable some increased inspections, I understand about 160 a year, of licensed premises. That may go some way to averting some of the problems with street offences that are prevalent in certain areas of the city, although I do think that in itself will be only a drop in the bucket and will not improve the situation much.
There is also this issue: is this the best way of doing it? The industry and, indeed, most of the people I speak to in the AFPA seem to believe that liquor licensing is something best left to the police. And the police do have a big role in it. Indeed, in the trouble spots at night, it is the police who actually do most of the inspections. It is somewhat unreasonable, I think, for the public service employees, who simply are not trained the way the police are to handle trouble, to do it.
In fact, there have been instances in the past, over the years, where they basically had their heads punched in by unruly patrons if they actually went out and did it. Hence, I think there is a real need to actually listen to industry to improve the ways we actually do our liquor inspections. And I think there is a strong case for that to be given back to the police.
In terms of the problems we actually see in relation to the consumption of liquor, I think an increased police presence, education programs for both the public and the trade, as well as sensible laws relating to street offences, are needed to have an effective impact on these problems. Whilst I welcome a couple of additional liquor inspectors, I think there is a lot more the government needs to do. They have only recently announced a liquor review.
What concerns me about the government’s approach to this particular problem, the problem of violence in Civic, Manuka, Kingston and other areas, is the amazingly