Labor accused of ‘cutting’ police funding by $150M a year
GOVERNMENT funding for Queensland's police service has decreased as a share of total public service spending since Labor came to power in 2015, analysis of budget documents show.
Deploying Labor's oft used definition of a "cut", Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan said the Queensland Police Service would be $150 million better off today if the state government had kept the rate of spending on police that the Newman government had in place in 2015.
But Police Minister Mark Ryan said it wasn't fair to pluck a number "in a silo", arguing community safety and justice spending was part of a spectrum, with spending significantly increased at the early intervention end and therefore across the system as a whole.
Analysis of successive Queensland budgets show spending on police, as a share of total public service spending, has dipped from 5.2 per cent when Labor took over from the LNP in 2015 to 4.9 per cent in 2019/20.
Funding for the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, which is responsible for the welfare of Queensland's wayward young people, has nearly doubled from 1.7 per cent as a share of total spending in 2017 to 3.04 per cent in the latest budget.
Senator Canavan said if police funding had been kept at 2015 rates, the state would be spending $150 million more fighting crime.
Mr Ryan, who was in Townsville on Tuesday announcing the district would receive two $150,000 a pop "modern-policing" mobile policing vans, argued "holistically" the Labor government had significantly increased investments in community safety.
"Ultimately it's about preventing crime before it happens and those early interventions is where you want significant investment," he said.
"That's why police are (now) working with other agencies to do that front end work, so we stop crime, so that we actually see the impact on the community in the system later on down the chain."
The two mobile police beats, effectively designed as mini-police stations on wheels, will allow officers to be more "flexible" and assert their presence at locations where needed.
Originally published as Labor accused of 'cutting' police funding by $150 million a year