Page 1670 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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(d) in September 2013 that City beat police teams were dangerously understaffed with concerns raised by a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) served on ACT Policing;

(e) that the Chief Police Officer conceded that some positions will need to be “closely examined”, saying the tight fiscal environment presented a challenge in delivering high quality police services;

(f) that there were reports that 18 positions could be cut in the short-term, and more could go in the last stages of the four budget cycle;

(g) that in answer to a QWN on 5 May 2015 the Minister of Police refused to rule out job cuts;

(h) the Chief Executive Officer of the AFPA said “compounding government cuts and pressure on staff numbers is that ACT Policing numbers have fallen to the lowest level of all Australian police forces at 221 per one hundred thousand”; and

(i) the CEO also said “The AFPA calls on the ACT Government to drop the savings measures and ensure ACT Policing staff number are not cut”; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to reinstate the cuts to ACT Policing in the coming ACT budget.

It is with great delight that I stand again to talk about the essential services that we want to see here in the ACT. Following on from what can be no greater priority—I think we would all agree on that—in providing essential health services, we move to police, to front-line policing, Madam Deputy Speaker. If that is not equal to health, it is right up there, isn’t it?

Let me be very clear at the outset. Just as the Canberra Liberals want to see priority, want to see funding, given to health, we also want to see that priority given to community safety. The people who are on the front line of delivering that community safety are our police. So let us be very clear: we want to make sure that our police are supported and are properly resourced.

We all have a good understanding of what the police do in our community, be it protecting us, preventing crime or enforcing good law and order. Everybody in their time has had dealings with the police. They keep our roads safe. They are out there in Civic, they are investigating murders and they are helping out with the scourge of domestic violence. In almost every facet of life, we see our police on the front line.

But what have we seen from this government? When Mr Seselja, in this place a few years ago, tried to provide extra legislative protections for police with his police assaults legislation, the government and the Greens would not support it. We have seen them cut $15 million from the ACT budget, over the term of the budget starting from 2013, from ACT Policing. We then have the minister saying, “It’s not going to have any effect. Don’t you worry about that; ACT Policing can get on with their business; no worries.” So, just as they are cutting hospital beds, they cut resources to police and say that it is not going to have any effect.

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