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New Police Recruits for Western NSW

Thursday, August 30, 2012
More police means greater peace of mind for the community. Thirty eight new police recruits are headed the western regions way following last week's announcement by the Minister for Police that 437 new police officers have graduated from the NSW Police Academy. The Orana Local Area Command (LAC) will receive five new police officers and three officers will be stationed in the Lachlan LAC. This boost to regional police resources is confirmation of the Government's determination to deliver better outcomes for the Dubbo electorate. The Government's decision to boost regional policing numbers is in direct contrast with the position taken by the leader of the Opposition who suggested earlier this year that more police should be re-directed to metropolitan commands. The 2012-13 state budget included $178 million in recurrent funding over the next four years to bring the NSW Police Force to a record strength of 16,356 officers by June 2014. Police strength across the state now stands at 16,016 officers.

Floods impact on both individuals and communities, and have social, economic, and environmental consequences. The consequences of floods, both negative and positive, vary greatly depending on the location and extent of flooding, and the vulnerability and value of the natural and constructed environments they affect. I was pleased to announce with Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce, a progress payment of $313, 000 to Dubbo City Council towards the cost of cleanup and repairs to public infrastructure following floods in late November and early December 2010. Without this financial assistance, the effects of the flooding would have placed a big burden on Council and its ratepayers.

The Macquarie Regional Library suffered flood damage that could not be recovered from insurance. Funding has also been provided for repairs to the Dubbo Visitor Information Centre where the office, storage and public areas were severely affected by water damage. Under an agreement with the Australian Government, NSW pays for the first $119.7 million of natural disaster infrastructure costs each year. The Australian Government matches NSW expenditure for costs between $119.7 million and $209.5 million and beyond that covers three quarters of all costs.

There is no bigger threat to the integrity of sport than match-fixing. Legislation will be introduced into Parliament to send a clear message that anyone found guilty of match fixing or corrupting the betting outcome of a sporting event could face up to 10 years jail. NSW is the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce these tough new penalties.
Most of us have at some time or another has been lured in by a displayed price for fuel, only to discover it’s a discounted price available only with a shopping docket or a particular type of credit card. Petrol stations will be required to display the fuel price available to every motorist – not the discounted price. Stations will also have to show the non-discounted price for the top two selling fuels, as well as diesel and LPG. This is a very simple plan by the NSW Government to make the price of fuel more transparent and honest to the consumer.

Graffiti vandals believe their actions harm no one. The reality is graffiti hurts everyone: homeowners, communities, businesses, schools, and you. And, those who practice it risk personal injury, violence, and arrest. The NSW Government has delivered on an election promise to implement tough new laws targeting graffiti. The laws require juvenile graffiti vandals to appear before court for a graffiti offence and clean up their graffiti. Courts will also have the power to extend the time graffiti offenders spend on their ‘L’ and ‘P’ plates and strip them of points from their licence. The new laws are significantly stronger than anything the former Labor Government introduced over 16 years – they would have been even stronger if had Labor supported our original bill.

Expert analysis shows flashing lights around school zones slow drivers down and save lives. That's why I am pleased that safety for students, parents and teachers has received a boost with 189 additional schools to be protected by school zone flashing lights by June next year. The NSW Liberals & Nationals have accelerated the roll-out – installing them three times faster than the rate of the former Labor Government. Once completed, 1,221 out of 3,150 schools in NSW will have flashing lights.

New era of policing

Monday, July 09, 2012

A new era of policing in the region has commenced with the ceremonial turning of the first sod at the site of Parkes multimillion dollar new police station. I was delighted that the Police Minister kindly accepted the invitation to visit Parkes demonstrating Mike Gallacher's commitment to improving regional policing infrastructure and resources. The NSW Government has allocated over $5 million in the 2012-2013 budget towards the completion of this $14 million project. Parkes has a long and rich history of police representation of which it should be proud. Generations of police officers have cut their teeth working out of the historic police station in Currajong Street. In 1883 a brick police lock-up was built in Currajong Street and a police residence was built at the corner of Court and Hill streets. Parkes became Western Area Police Headquarters in 1936 with the officer-in-charge controlling from Blackheath to Broken Hill. Today, Parkes is headquarters of the Lachlan Local Area Command. As a former officer I know how much better the police will be able to serve the local community's policing needs out of a contemporary work place. I look forward to watching the progress of this important project.

Being a member of an organisation like the Rural Fire Service, particularly in rural and regional NSW isn’t for the faint hearted. The men and women of the Rural Fire Service are an integral part of rural and regional communities. Within the RFS exists some very talented people. Last week I was honoured to present 48 of them from the Tichborne and The Troffs Brigades near Parkes with Long Service Medals, on behalf of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.  Some of these very worthy recipients have dedicated most of their lives to serving their community with the RFS. People like Jim Barker – who's given 65 years of service to the RFS or Derek Drenkhahn –64 years of service, and Andrew Tom – 63 years of service. That's 192 years of service to the RFS between them. There are over 70,000 volunteer fire fighters, formed into some 2,100 brigades in 143 rural fire districts. They fight fires in over 95 per cent of the State and are responsible for property protection in about 1,200 towns and villages. The NSW RFS claims to be the world's largest volunteer fire service. Thank you to all RFS members who demonstrate extraordinary service and commitment to the communities they protect.

What's important to you as a community? This is the question that is being posed at the       next Community Leaders Breakfast held on Saturday, 14 July 2012 at the Church Street Rotunda in Dubbo. I will join Dubbo Mayor Cr Mathew Dickerson, local Councillors and the Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton for the third Breakfast from 8am to 10am. It's a great opportunity to meet your local representatives and share your ideas over breakfast. I'm looking forward to hearing the communities concerns and gain some feedback on recent Government initiatives, in particular the measures announced in the recent budget. Come and have a chat and learn more about what services might be available to assist you with your issue.

During my time as a policeman I attended the scene of too many accidents that were brought about by reckless or careless driving that resulted in unnecessary injury or death. That's why I support the NSW Government scheme that rewards good driving practices and behaviour. The ‘Fair Go for Safe Drivers’ scheme means motorists can pay half price for their licence from 1 July if they maintain good driving records for five years. Under the scheme about 2.1 million motorists will be eligible for the cheaper licence out of 4.3 million unrestricted licence holders in NSW. This scheme encourages people to adopt safe driving habits that will lead to better driver behaviour and awareness, which in turn should result in less fatalities and serious accidents. From 1 July 2012 unrestricted driver licence renewal fees are $52 for one year, $122 for three years and $162 for five years. Drivers must also have no relevant offences recorded on their licence during the five years leading up to the renewal date.  A similar scheme has been operating successfully in Victoria since 2006, which allows for a 25 per cent reduction in the licence fee.

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