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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1805

Crime


Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (15:09): My question is to the Minister for Justice. I refer to the coalition's Safer Street fund and thank the minister for a funding commitment of $300,000 for CCTV cameras in my electorate. Will the minister outline to the House the coalition's plan to make our streets safer?


Mr KEENAN (StirlingMinister for Justice) (15:10): I thank the member for Solomon for her question. I was very pleased to be able to join her during the recent election campaign and to fund three projects of significance within Solomon that she had been lobbying very hard for. The projects are for three sets of CCTVs that will make her electorate safer.

Ms Rishworth interjecting

Mr Thistlethwaite interjecting

The SPEAKER: The members for Kingston and Kingsford Smith will both desist.

Mr KEENAN: This commitment is part of our $50 million Safer Streets policy. This policy is designed to support communities to address crime and antisocial behaviour by funding measures such as CCTV and lighting. This funding will target crime hot spots in local communities, based on the advice that we get from those local communities in conjunction with local policing services.

Of the $50 million funding for this program, $41 million is coming from the National Crime Prevention Fund and $9 million from proceeds-of-crime money. We made this policy announcement in October 2012 and made very clear where the money would come from. That money had at the time been frozen within the budget. Traditionally, proceeds-of-crime money has funded crime-prevention projects, but the Labor Party in its desperate search for savings said that it was not going to honour what previous governments had done and make sure that proceeds of crime were actually invested in crime-fighting projects. We did not think that that was a smart thing to do. We said that we would take that money and invest it around Australia in projects that the community thinks are important to tackle crime in their local area.

Subsequently, the Labor Party had a change of heart. They said that they were now going to take that money and invest it in crime-fighting projects through the national crime prevention program. After freezing that money, they made announcements between 7 August and 19 August this year. We had already allocated that funding to our Safer Streets project. The Labor Party made those commitments in the full knowledge that if they lost the election the commitments could not possibly be honoured, because we had allocated that money to the Safer Streets program. They misled—wilfully misled—very good community organisations—

Mr Dreyfus: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order. The minister should be asked to withdraw his last remark. He knows that reflecting in that manner is completely out of order.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: I do not need to hear from the Leader of the House. I simply say to the minister that if he wishes to talk about wilful misleading there are other ways of dealing with it, not in question time. The minister shall continue his answer.

An opposition member interjecting

The SPEAKER: He does not need to withdraw.

Mr KEENAN: Madam Speaker, it is very hard to know how to characterise running around Australia telling community organisations something that you know not to be true. Unfortunately, that is what the Labor Party did. As they have done in so many portfolio areas, they have left us with a significant problem.

Ms Owens interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Parramatta is warned.

Mr KEENAN: We have excellent community organisations who have been expecting funding that the Labor Party knew full well would not be committed if they lost the election. We will deal with this as well as we possibly can. (Time expired)

Mr Abbott: After 25 questions and magnificent answers—a record, as I understand it, for this parliament—I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.