Page 2967 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 6 August 2008
communities. Instead of investing in our library network, this government has divested it. Let us not forget the classic comment from Mr Hargreaves, the hapless Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, that probably underscores this magnificent government attitude: “I didn’t consult with youse, because I knew what youse would say. Therefore, I made the decision to go ahead and shut the library.”
Let us look at school closures. The core of local communities is often their local schools, which enhance the ability of residents to connect with their neighbours. But 23 of them have been closed by Labor. Initially, 39 were on the hit list, so the anxiety built around those 39 schools and their communities. That is really building a strong community, is it not, Mr Speaker? Building better communities does not mean shutting huge numbers of schools. Let us face it, schools oriented to communities, smaller schools and smaller classes are what build a better and a more cohesive community. This government has spat in the eye of that principle.
Le us have a look at the city shopfront. Access to essential services has been denied by the closure of this important government facility. Again, it is not investment but divestment. What about police? We have just heard the Chief Minister crowing about the police minister’s gorgeous announcement that they are increasing police numbers. I think he said 107, or 122 perhaps. But that is only after denying in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006—perhaps waking up in 2007—that there was any problem with our police numbers. Do you remember, Mr Speaker, that the police presence on our streets, the strength of our police and their ability to be able to back each other up were problems, and this mob were in denial? They were only dragged kicking and screaming to increase the numbers, backflipping again. There has been divestment in our police services over so many years, and now finally we have a belated announcement to try and do something about it.
Let us have a look at the 2006 rationalisation exercise which saw the destruction of our bus network. That was great investment, was it not? Ms Porter, that is another example of your government’s divestment approach to exercising its so-called duty of care over our city. My colleague Mr Smyth touched briefly on graffiti. There is a wonderful investment. Have we not seen Mr Hargreaves investing beautifully in the more complicated, colourful graffiti patterns on the Braddon depot, a depot which, of course, has responsibility for cleaning up our urban and cityscapes? He has invested there all right. Graffiti there has remained untouched for 12 months. That is an investment! Talk to the shopkeepers down through Braddon shops where the same graffiti tags are proudly displayed as those on Mr Hargreaves’s depot. Those same tags are scattered right the way down Lonsdale Street and other streets. That is an investment in the look of the city! Well done, Mr Stanhope and Mr Hargreaves.
What about the bushfires? What investment did we see from this government in 2002 in fire prevention and preventative and strategic planning when the bushfire and drought indexes were through the roof? Nothing was done at all. They just sat there waiting. Despite a small but rapid and vicious fire in December 2001 which indicated what was coming, still they sat there on their bums and did nothing about preparing this community. That is not investment.
What about the power station and the data centre? That is an abysmal example of this government taking into account the needs of the community and, indeed, the needs of