Page 3546 - Week 09 - Thursday, 23 August 2018

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: The participation grants for the National Multicultural Festival are currently open, and I encourage community members to apply for those grants. As I said in this place last week in response to a question, the multicultural participation grants that are offered annually will open later this year. Again, I encourage multicultural community organisations to apply for those grants.

MR HANSON: Minister, have you apologised to ACT Policing for earlier implying that they had supported the ban on the sale of alcohol by community groups when in fact they did not? If you have not apologised to ACT Policing, why not?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I actually discussed this matter with the Chief Police Officer when I caught up with her one day. The Chief Police Officer did confirm in a radio interview earlier this year, when the FOI was released in April-May, that Policing had expressed concerns about the amount of alcohol sold and intoxication across the footprint, and that is very clear from the documents released under FOI.

As I said on 10 May, I was not aware, in making my statements previously, that ACT Policing had provided specific advice by email in relation to what would be a better way to limit licences. I was, I have to say—and I am quoting from Hansard—“extremely disappointed to learn that that specific advice had been provided”. I said that in this place on 10 May.

But I also need to say that this level of criticism of the very hardworking small team in the Office of Multicultural Affairs that delivers a fantastic—

Opposition members interjecting—

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: It was not my decision. I have said it many times.

Mr Hanson: On a point of order of relevance, the supplementary was very specific, about whether she has apologised to police for her statements that alleged that ACT Policing supported the ban when in fact they did not support the ban. Whether she agreed with the policy or not is irrelevant. The point is that she made statements about ACT Policing which were not true and has she apologised. That is the question. If she could be directly relevant, I would be delighted.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson. I am going to let the minister finish. In the beginning of the response to the question she spoke of conversations with the police. I cannot direct the minister how to answer but I have inferred from the answer that she has had a conversation with the police about these matters. Minister.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I will read from the participation policy that was released on 4 August, signed by the Director-General of CSD on 4 August, under a heading “Risks”:

Community and Diplomatic applicants will no longer be issued a liquor permit. This decision was made due to the concerns raised by ACT Policing as there was an increase in the number of liquor stalls on the footprint in 2016-17.

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