Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2872 ..
without serious consideration of whether our actions are both effective and proportionate.
The community and this Assembly are understandably concerned about the recent incidents involving OMCGs in the ACT. As a Tuggeranong local, as well as being the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, I am keenly aware of the risks to community members and the concerns these incidents have created. I will continue to make sure that ACT Policing has the right resources, tools and relationships to effectively respond to these illegal and dangerous actions. I commend to the Assembly the ongoing dedication of the men and women of ACT Policing in their commitment to keeping the ACT safe. I make a serious commitment to you, and to the Canberra community, that this government will continue to support you in this important work.
Madam Acting Speaker, I present the following paper:
Outlaw motorcycle gangs—ACT Government response—Ministerial statement, 17 August 2017.
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.16): In response to the minister’s statement, I will start where he finished. That is about supporting our frontline police officers. It is ironic that the minister should end there, because they are not being supported. I know that my colleague Mrs Jones has been making the case on a number of fronts over a range of issues. ACT police have been subject to $15 million of cuts. It is an ACT police force that up until July did not have dealing with OMCG as a priority at all. It has suddenly become priority number one.
It is an ACT police force that desperately needs adequate laws, in this case anti-consorting laws, equivalent to those in New South Wales. The government is not providing police with that important tool. That is the point I want to go to in responding to Mr Gentleman’s statement. I agree with him. There have been a series of horrific crimes committed in our suburbs by outlaw motorcycle gangs. The question is: why is that? The reason is complex, but largely it is due to the fact that this government has failed to introduce anti-consorting laws when it is clear from the evidence that there is a requirement to do so. It is the absence of those laws that is resulting in these increased activities of motorcycle gangs.
I go to some of the points here. This goes back, as you would remember, Madam Acting Speaker, to 2009, when the then Premier of New South Wales, Nathan Rees, in response to an OMCG incident in New South Wales, said, “I am going to drive the bikies out of New South Wales,” and he introduced tough new anti-consorting laws. At the time, there was advice from the Australian Federal Police Association and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission that, if we in the ACT did not follow with similar laws, we would become a safe haven or an oasis for that bikie activity.