The Omeo and Tambo Valley communities are still in limbo in relation to policing levels, with a question regarding coverage of these areas, asked in State Parliament by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, still unanswered.
On October 31, Mr Bull asked the Minister for Police whether there were any plans in place to cover for staff absences, when they occur concurrently at the Omeo and Swift’s Creek stations.
Parliamentary guidelines state the Minister must respond within 30 days, with that date having passed.
“I again raised the matter in Parliament to remind the Minister that these communities are awaiting response, given the 30-day timeline has clearly been missed,” Mr Bull said.
When first raising the matter, Mr Bull said: “I have been advised by several local residents that there have been a number of times recently, including this week, when both officers have been absent or off duty and policing coverage is provided from Bairnsdale.
“This of course is problematic as Omeo is over 90 minutes away and other locations covered by this station are over two hours away from Bairnsdale.
“Given the distance from Bairnsdale, I ask the Minister what is the plan to cover these absences when they occur as coverage provided from Bairnsdale is not deemed as adequate.
“There are always short-term absences that are hard to cover, but when the absences are known days or weeks in advance, arrangements should be put in place, especially at this time of the year.
“Local police do a fantastic job in responding to incidents across the region, however the community needs an assurance there will always be a presence provided at one of these stations as a minimum.”
Mr Bull said he was hopeful of a response in the coming days.
Thursday, December 14, 2017