Security And Investigation Agents

02 Dec 2009 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer Affairs a question about licensing of security and investigation agents.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Australian Institute of Criminology recently called for greater scrutiny and better collection of data for the private security industry in Australia. I understand that OCBA is the licensor of security and investigation agents in South Australia.

According to the most recently available annual report, OCBA issued 8,012 licences in 2007-08 compared with 7,295 in 2006-07. I note that the 2008-09 OCBA annual report is not available as yet to make a comparison. This large increase in licences is consistent with Australian trends. In fact, the growth in the number of security and investigation agents has been very large over the past few years and has been faster than for both population growth and police intake growth. In fact, in 2009, security personnel outnumbered police by more than two to one. My questions are:

1. Is OCBA monitoring and collecting data from this industry?

2. Has OCBA been required to, or has it needed to, place additional resources into monitoring this industry?

3. What discussions has the minister had either with her colleague the Minister for Police or at a federal level to ensure this issue is being monitored effectively?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:35): I thank the honourable member for her important question. I understand that the Attorney-General is the minister responsible for matters relating to the private investigation sector. OCBA is involved in the licensing only, and I am advised that it does little else other than managing those administrative matters. However, I am happy to take the question on notice, refer the appropriate elements of it to another minister and bring back whatever answers I can determine.