House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Constituency Statements

Richmond Electorate: Police

11:08 am

Photo of Justine ElliotJustine Elliot (Richmond, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'd like to raise a couple of very important issues in my electorate. First I'd like to tell the House about the inaugural Police and Community Charity Ball that's being hosted this Saturday by the Queensland Police Service, New South Wales Police Force and the Australian Federal Police. It's being held at Seagulls in my electorate. This charity ball will be in support of the Tweed Heads hospital's children's ward and the Gold Coast hospital's children's ward, with all profits going to these charities. I understand that many, many hundreds of tickets have been sold. I'd like to commend the organisers of this important charity event not only for raising all this money but also for coordinating such a large charity ball. It's a credit to them. I know many in the local police in Tweed Heads have been responsible for a lot of the coordination, and I would like to commend them for their great efforts.

On that note, I would like to add that, as a former police officer myself, I will always take an opportunity to recognise the outstanding work of our local police and acknowledge and thank them for the difficult job that they do throughout my electorate on the North Coast of New South Wales. One of the many issues that I have raised here, and Labor have raised in our region, is the New South Wales Liberal-National government's harsh cuts to our police numbers and how devastating they have been for our community. The police numbers in the Tweed-Byron Police District have dropped from 198 in 2012, to 165 in 2017. That is a huge drop, and our community has so many concerns right across the board in terms of the increases in crime.

I attend many different community meetings where they're worried about break-ins and car thefts. We had a whole suite of measures to address this, but what we really need is more police on the beat. But what we've seen from this government is constant cuts. So I would certainly continue to condemn them. Indeed, it's throughout my electorate. In the southern part of my electorate, Ballina, a beautiful coastal town, has recently experienced some crime waves. Again, police numbers there have been cut. We have a growing region with a large number of tourists who come to our area—it is indeed the most beautiful part of Australia—but we need sufficient police numbers to keep the locals and the tourists secure. But what have we got from this New South Wales Liberal-National government? Cuts, cuts and more cuts to our police numbers.

Do you know who we really blame for that? We blame the Nationals. Yet again they can't defend people in the regions. We've seen massive cuts. The Tweed Nationals MP, Geoff Provest, has been responsible for those cuts in Tweed. Thomas George, the Nationals MP in Lismore, cut police numbers throughout that state seat. Indeed, throughout the North Coast of New South Wales these massive cuts to policing are hurting locals, and they've had enough. They've had enough of the National Party cutting police numbers and putting people in danger constantly. We see police stations close all the time, and we blame the National Party for the lack of police on the North Coast.