House debates

Monday, 22 February 2010


Infrastructure; Petrie Electorate: Community Safety; ThinkUKnow Initiative; Internet Content

9:34 pm

Photo of Yvette D'AthYvette D'Ath (Petrie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Tonight I wish to speak on community safety, but before I do I have to make a few comments about what the member for Maranoa has just said. The reality is that the Rudd government has delivered more investment in infrastructure in the first two years of this government than the Howard government did over 11 years. We are investing in ports, rail, roads, schools, health and broadband. Every one of these areas was neglected by the Howard government. I recommend to the member for Maranoa that he go back and have a good look at the history of the Howard government and what was actually done in that time. If it were not for the actions of this government in relation to the global financial crisis, stepping up and doing what it needed to do to invest in infrastructure for both the short term and the long term for this economy, what we would see under the opposition if they were in charge would be long-term high unemployment. That is what they would have given this country.

But tonight I want to talk about community safety and once again show what this government is doing for our local communities. Last Friday, 19 February, I had the opportunity to be with the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Brendan O’Connor, who came to the electorate of Petrie—specifically to the Redcliffe Peninsula—to announce a commitment that we made in 2007 and that I advocated strongly, which was the delivery of CCTV cameras and improved lighting for my local community. What this $1 million in funding to the Moreton Bay Regional Council under the project to deliver the Safer Suburbs Plan has delivered is benefits not just for my electorate but also for the electorates of Longman and Dickson. We are going to see improvements in CCTV and lighting in Settlement Cove at Redcliffe, at Strathpine CBD for the first time ever, at Kalowen Park at Kippa-Ring, at Caboolture CBD, at Deception Bay foreshore and at Bribie Island Bridge. This is a great investment by the Rudd government into my local community and those at Pine Rivers and Caboolture.

This is important: we have an obligation to provide safe areas where we have free public access for our community. The areas in my electorate are certainly well used by families, and by providing better lighting and more security with cameras, families are going to be able to spend more and longer time each day at these beautiful areas that are free to the public. They are great not only for community activities but also for healthy activities like swimming and playing in the park—things that we want people to do. We want people young and old to exercise and we need to make sure that these public areas are actually safe.

In addition to these areas, I applaud the Minister for Home Affairs, who on the same day made the announcement about the ThinkUKnow initiative. This is a very important initiative; this is a way that parents, teachers and carers can learn more about how we keep our young people safe. This is an interactive program available on the ThinkUKnow website that will allow schools, community organisations and families to access information, resources and free presentations to assist in how we can educate our children.

The reality is that our kids are accessing the internet at a much younger age. I know that even grades 1 and 2 children access the internet not just socially at home but as part of their school activities and as part of their homework. Many schools, state and private, are now setting up homework intranet sites so that children can access their homework electronically. These websites can sometimes make available a link that the children can hit and it takes them to a public website that can have access to other material. We need to educate our children and also their parents, teachers and carers about how we can make these environments safe for them.

That is why I also support what the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is doing with these filters. It is not about putting restrictions on people and it is not about saying that you do not have the right to look at what you want to on an internet site. The reality is that if we do not think this material is suitable for our TVs—cable or free-to-air—and if we do not think they are suitable for our bookshops then we should not give our children access. (Time expired)