The Carpenter Government’s determination to keep Western Australians safe has been highlighted with more than $2billion allocated to relevant agencies in the 2008-09 Budget, Treasurer Eric Ripper said today.
Mr Ripper said funding for policing, prisons, courts and fire and emergency services had increased by $181million, or 11.9 per cent.
The Treasurer said expenditure on policing had increased $95.1million, or 7.6 per cent, including an additional $5.3million for police officers to investigate serious cases of child abuse in remote indigenous communities.
Police Air Wing capabilities would also be expanded, enabling the replacement of the ageing police helicopter.
“The Carpenter Government’s commitment to safer communities will also see the police call centre receive funding of $4.7million over four years, with $600,000 allocated in 2008-09 to provide 18 additional staff aimed at improving call rates, lowering the average call response time and minimising call waiting times,” Mr Ripper said.
The Treasurer said the State Government would also recruit an additional 90 police officers in 2008-09 and spend $1.8million on a range of advertising and recruitment programs.
“This fulfils the Carpenter Government’s 2005 election commitment of an additional 350 police officers in this term,” he said.
“Along with 160 civilian administrative staff recruited over four years, this will put an extra 510 police officers on front-line duties by the end of 2008-09.”
Mr Ripper said construction of the new Perth Police Complex would begin in 2008‑09, with $6million allocated to the new Perth CBD operational centre.
He said child safety was a crucial priority of the Carpenter Government and an additional $1.3million would be allocated to investigate child sexual abuse claims as part of the implementation of mandatory reporting of the problem.
Tackling the negative effects of drug and alcohol on the community would continue, with a further $1.4million to be spent in 2008-09 to establish a Licensing Enforcement Division within the police.
The Treasurer said the State Government would also provide an additional $1.24million over four years for the Burglar Beware Program.
The Carpenter Government’s Graffiti Vandalism Reduction Strategy 2007-2010 announced in August 2007 had been allocated an additional $900,000 over three years to expand awareness of the successful 1800 Graffiti Hotline.
“WA Police has a total capital works budget of $212.8million over the next four years, of which $184.2million is to fund the construction of 16 new police facilities,” Mr Ripper said.
“The 2008-09 capital works program totals $74.4million, of which $67.3million is for construction works and $7.1million for other projects. An estimated $3million will be spent in 2008-09 for the ongoing police station upgrade program.”
The Treasurer said Government had also committed $762,000 for a second permanent magistrate and two support staff in the Kimberley region.
The second magistrate would be based in Kununurra but travel to communities in the East Kimberley including Halls Creek, Kalumburu, Oombulgarri, Warmun and Balgo.
A further $700,000 would be spent to employ a third magistrate and five support staff for the South-West. Based in Bunbury, the magistrate would visit towns throughout the South-West including Busselton, Collie, Margaret River and Donnybrook.
Mr Ripper said the Department of Corrective Services would spend almost $10million in 2008-09 on new initiatives to reduce the number of offenders kept in prisons. These would include doubling the effort to assist prisoners to successfully move back into the community when they were released.
The Government had also allocated $4.5million over the next four years to replace or upgrade the department’s secure transport fleet, with $485,000 to be spent 2008-09.
“We are committed to providing not only the services, but also the resources, to protect all Western Australians and make our communities safer,” the Treasurer said.
“The 2008-09 State Budget builds on the high levels of resourcing provided since 2001, which have seen our police more than 18 per cent better resourced per capita, than the average of the other mainland States.”
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