Page 1954 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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Budget—ACT Policing

MR HANSON: My question is to the minister for police. Minister, in the budget you announced an additional $3 million for police over the forward estimates. However, the government stripped $15 million out of the police budget in 2013. Overall, this is a $12 million cut to police. Minister, will you restore the full $15 million that has been stripped from the police budget?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hanson for his question. He is referring to the general savings measures that have been applied to ACT Policing over the last number of years. They have found those general savings measures. In my ongoing discussions with the Chief Police Officer he is confident that those savings measures will be met in the years remaining in that agreement. Just at lunchtime I signed the purchase agreement with the Chief Police Officer and Commissioner Andrew Colvin. He again was asked that question.

Mr Hanson: On a point of order, I ask the minister to be directly relevant. The question is whether the minister will restore the funding. Yes or no will suffice.

MADAM SPEAKER: You might think that yes or no suffices, Mr Hanson, but the standing orders do not require the minister to be that concise. But she does have to be directly relevant.

MS BURCH: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was going on to say that today we signed the purchase agreement for 2015-16. That purchase agreement will see a purchase of 932 FTEs. Last year we purchased 932 FTEs.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, what will be the impact of the net $12 million reduction in police funding?

MS BURCH: As I have said here, and as the Chief Police Officer has said, yes he is meeting the general savings measures and he is meeting them in a smart way by looking at how different models of response can continue to meet the community’s needs.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, how many jobs have been lost or are still to be lost as a result of these cuts?

MS BURCH: I refer to part of my first answer, where I said that the purchase agreement for this year is maintaining the same level of full-time equivalents as the last purchase agreement. But if you look at the annual reports, you will see we have usually operated above what is in the purchase agreements. The Chief Police Officer is very clear on his responsibility to meet the general savings measures. He has met them to date and he is confident he will meet them in the future.

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