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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5688

Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR (Minister for Home Affairs) (7:17 PM) —In response to the first question asked by the member for La Trobe, I am advised that there was no commitment made prior to the election on that matter. I am advised that my ministerial predecessor in the previous government did not make a commitment on lighting. I do understand that the local member, who happens to be the member before me and who asked the question, may well have been lobbying for this initiative. I am sure it is a very important initiative. I have to say that he obviously failed to get that infrastructure in place under the previous government. But I can confirm, given the advice I have received, that there was no decision by this government to provide infrastructure. That is not to say that they are not legitimate claims.

Mr Wood —It’s from your government.

Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —What the member for La Trobe is referring to is a newspaper report. I am sure he speaks to that newspaper more often than my predecessor did. All I am saying is that I saw that report prior to the member referring to it today. I have sought an answer as to whether commitments were made by this government on that initiative and the answer is no. My point is that there has been no commitment on that matter but that does not detract from quite possibly legitimate claims about needed infrastructure.

I am very happy to look at the issues that the member for La Trobe raises about those communities because I am concerned if his electorate and communities are in any way less safe because of infrastructure that was not put in place by the previous government or because of something that we have yet to commit to. But I can confirm that there was no decision made by my predecessor on those matters.

On the second question, I will take on notice the comments he has made about the types of seats that have received funding. I can only say that the Safer Suburbs Plan is a very important program. It brings together the federal government, state police and local municipalities, working very closely with local communities, including Neighbourhood Watch and other organisations, to ensure that we not only reduce crime in our streets but reduce the fear of crime. I am very proud to be associated with this very important initiative. The member for Brisbane is in the chamber, and I want to acknowledge the work he did prior to the last election on that very important initiative.

Mr Wood interjecting

Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —Therefore, it is somewhat ironic that the member for La Trobe, who is in a marginal Liberal seat, is now complaining that Liberal marginal seats are receiving the funding. I am happy to look at the cross-section of seats but, more importantly, I will be looking at the reasons for which the decisions were made and the advice I received from the department to provide that funding. I am sure the member for La Trobe is not suggesting that some of those communities should not be in receipt of this infrastructure. But I am happy to take on notice his concern in relation to the nature of the electorates that have been provided that support.