Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington MP, has welcomed today’s announcement that Tea Gardens Police Station will be upgraded, and is calling on the Government to commit to more police for the local area.
The announcement, which included no details around timing or design, follows a significant community rally in November last year, where Ms Washington joined hundreds of local residents to demand a fairer share under the Government’s police reengineering process.
The community gathering sent a clear message to the Government that no police station closures would be tolerated, and more police resources were needed across the area.
Above and beyond refurbishing police facilities, the local community is keen to see more police assigned to the Local Area Command so that incidents can be attended to quickly, and so our current officers have the support they need to do their jobs.
Port Stephens has a number of satellite police stations, including Nelson Bay, Karuah, Lemon Tree Passage and Tea Gardens. While senior officers in the NSW Police Force confirmed they have no plans to close stations, local residents and the NSW Police Association remain concerned about the Government’s intentions for satellite stations and staffing, especially in light of the recent closure of Clarence Town's police station.
Karuah, Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest consist of a growing number of retirees and older Australians, and the population swells dramatically during holiday periods, however policing resources haven't kept pace.
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP
“Last year I joined the community in sending a clear message to the Government that we would not cop any police station closures. We made it perfectly clear that we need more police and more resources, not less.
“Today’s announcement shows that the strong community campaign worked. I want to thank everyone in the Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest community who added their voice to this campaign and made sure the Government was forced to listen.
“We know that nearby Clarence Town wasn’t so lucky, and Nationals MP Michael Johnsen kept tight-lipped as his own Government closed the police station.
“My community knows that we have to keep vigilant. I certainly want to make sure the Government doesn’t use this announcement as an excuse to close Karuah station or any other satellite station that we rely on in Port Stephens.
“Most importantly, we need more police in our communities, helping residents keep safe and secure. We've only recently had examples of slow response times in the Hawks Nest area, due to local officers not being called out to respond.
“I will continue calling on the Government to ensure our area has enough police to keep our community safe.
This item was distributed as a media release on Friday 1 June 2018.