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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 August 2008) . . Page.. 2850 ..

in an additional 122 positions in ACT Policing since we were first elected in 2001—the single largest increase in police numbers since self-government.

This initiative demonstrates the commitment of the government to providing a safer community for the people of Gungahlin and, indeed, for the rest of the city. There are real benefits in this investment. First of all, it will make sure that there are better response times for Gungahlin residents when it comes to responses for assistance from police in the Gungahlin area, because police will be—

Mr Stefaniak: You’ve been saying that for about five years.

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Stefaniak.

MR CORBELL: on duty, on the street; police will be out and about in the two additional patrol cars, bringing to four the number of dedicated patrol vehicles for the Gungahlin area.

There is another benefit as well. The other benefit is that no longer will the Belconnen police station have to cover the Gungahlin area during the times when the Gungahlin station is closed. That means better response times for residents as well, because the Belconnen station police will be able to focus on their district without having to be as concerned for matters in Gungahlin as they have been to date.

There has been significant growth in Gungahlin since 1998, when the station was first opened. Currently, it operates from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm seven days a week, but with this additional funding—and it is $3.1 million in recurrent funding and $200,000 in capital funding—we are now in a position to see the station operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This is all about building a stronger community—building the Gungahlin community, building the police presence in Gungahlin. By doing so, we achieve what those opposite have never been able to do. Despite all their rhetoric about law and order and safer communities, where was their investment ever to increase police numbers? Where was their investment to make sure that stations were modern? Where was their investment—

MR SPEAKER: Come back to the subject matter of the question.

MR CORBELL: to make sure that Gungahlin got the policing services it deserved? I was very pleased to join with the Chief Police Officer today. This commitment will be going ahead from January next year and it will make a significant difference to improving policing services for the Gungahlin region.

Schools—early childhood

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the minister for education. At estimates, the minister informed me that the ACT government was about to begin an intensive advertising campaign to promote government schools, most particularly—and this was what my question was about—in regard to the new early childhood schools at Lyons, Narrabundah, Isabella Plains and Southern Cross. This is of real concern to people in those communities who are concerned about the future of their schools.

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