Gippsland one-officer stations must be protected

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called on the State Government to intervene to ensure that single officer stations across the state and in Gippsland are not stripped of staff.

Mr O’Brien was responding to reports that indicate a plan by police command to change enterprise bargaining arrangements to allow single officer station staff to be used to prop up and fill vacant shifts in larger stations.

“Our small one-officer stations are and remain a critical part of policing and community safety in our smaller regional towns.

“Of course, those officers already work with, and are supported by, nearby towns and bigger stations, but to suggest they be on some sort of permanent secondment would be to the detriment of our smaller towns.”

Mr O’Brien said one-officer stations in the Gippsland South electorate at Loch Sport, Toora, Meeniyan and Loch play an important part in community safety in those communities.

“I have had significant concern raised with me in recent months about an increase in crime and we have seen the crime rate in South Gippsland alone rise by 59.4 per cent since the Labor Government came to office.

“We continue to need a visible police presence in these communities and I will not support a diminution of police and one officer stations.”

Mr O’Brien said the Andrews Government needed to properly resource Victoria Police to ensure our rural and regional areas are appropriately covered.

“We heard evidence at the budget hearings in June that there are some 800 vacancies unfilled throughout Victoria Police and it is the responsibility of the Andrews Government to urgently address these shortages.”

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