Page 4799 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017

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Many constituents have written to and met with me concerned that criminal behaviour is not a priority for the minister or for the government. Of particular note is the ongoing saga in Horbury Street and Kelvin Court in Phillip. I have met with constituents who are extremely rattled by the ongoing drug dealing, speeding, hooning, and burnouts occurring in the small townhouse complex and cul-de- sac in Phillip. I have been shown CCTV footage of what goes on in this area, and it is shocking to say the least.

I or my office have watched over 240 separate pieces of CCTV film and seen over 315 different images of some of the criminal behaviour that is occurring. I have seen what looks to be drug deals taking place late at night and sometimes in broad daylight. I have seen massive burnouts and speeding through the complex with passengers sitting out the window or hanging onto the roof. Elderly people, young children, and other vulnerable Canberrans are living in the area. I am advised that ACT housing has tenants in this area include a mother with a young child. I am also told that the bulk of this criminal behaviour is being perpetrated by one local tenant.

The constituents I have spoken to in the area say their interactions with police have varied from helpful to not so helpful and that the police seem completely stretched. The message constituents have received is that they are too short on time and resources to solve the issue. When will the ACT government get real and back the ACT police to be resourced enough to make moves to resolve such ongoing sagas? It is appalling that the government has allowed this issue to go on for so long.

Another issue reported to me is the tens of thousands of dollars of fuel being stolen from petrol stations each and every year in Canberra. I asked the minister and the Chief Police Officer about this issue during estimates and followed up during question time in this place. I was shocked to learn that of the 613 reported incidents of fuel theft in 2016-17 only 16 resulted in charges being laid. This means that 597 cases have resulted in no apprehension of an offender. The CPO is very clear that the reason these things are not followed up better is lack of resources.

These petty crimes have a huge cumulative effect on a small number of business owners and managers who deal with this on a daily and a weekly basis. It truly has a big impact on their lives, and it is not good enough that we do not resolve these issues for them where we can. I appreciate that it is difficult for perpetrators of this type of crime to be found and charged, but there is much more that can be done. There is a cost involved. Each incident of fuel theft might only be worth less than $100, however, if you add up how many times one business has to deal with this it is a significant impact on them. Many fuel thieves are probably repeat offenders and finding them once might actually solve a host of crimes. They continue to do it because they continue to get away with it.

The CPO has been clear that it is difficult to keep up with current and ongoing funding constraints. She has to take a greater number of younger and younger and less and less experienced officers to do work that used to be done by people who had a little more experience. While it is commendable that she is making those efforts to fit in with the ACT government’s demands on police, there will come a point where it is

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