Marginal seats get more attention
I went to a public meeting on Thursday, May 10 at the East Cessnock Bowling Club, organised by the NSW Police Association’s Cessnock branch, who are concerned about the lack of duty police officers and the current police station.
As reported by the Advertiser, around 150 people attended and heard from the Cessnock branch spokesperson of the Police Association and other speakers about community safety, lack of resources and the condition of the current police station.
Our local Member of Parliament the Hon Clayton Barr MP introduced the Shadow Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Hon Guy Zangari to the assembled audience.
Now this was an ideal opportunity to make a promise to the residents of the Cessnock LGA, that when elected the NSW Labor Party would build a new station and increase the number of police in the district.
But alas, it wasn’t to be – as we are in a very safe seat.
Let’s look at some history of the Cessnock electorate and more broadly the Hunter electorate.
The NSW Labor Party have been in power in NSW for 23,304 days while the LNP have held State power for 9193 days (as of May 2018).
The State seat of Cessnock – with the exception of three years, 1988-1991, which was held by Bob Roberts (Liberal) – has been held by Labor, while the seat of Hunter has been in Labor hands since Federation.
In 1996 the then-Premier of NSW Bob Carr appointed Police Commissioner Peter Ryan (1996-2002). Commissioner Ryan, approved by Labor, was responsible for the introduction of the Local Area Command (LAC) which was then headquartered in Maitland at the old Hunter Valley County Council building.
Prior to this move Cessnock Police Station had a full contingent of police and a division of detectives, while Kurri Kurri Police Station also had a full roster of police plus a resident-based lockup keeper.
The Local Area Command has been an abject failure in the regions and this decision by Labor back in the late 1990s has had serious impacts on the Cessnock LGA.
Today, Kurri Kurri is unmanned and the district has no rostered detectives as they come across from Maitland and now maybe Muswellbrook under the new LAC structure.
In 2011 the Kurri Kurri 2030 committee held a public meeting with community leaders to discuss a new emergency services precinct adjacent to the Hunter Expressway. While supported by the police and fire Brigade then, nothing ever eventuated.
It is time we the people of Cessnock stood up to Macquarie Street, to both Labor and Liberal, to ensure we get a fair share of police resources and a new command centre.
Lastly, “marginal seats get the attention” from both sides of politics.
Rod Doherty, Ward D Liberal councillor,
Cessnock City Council
Wallaby Gully needs more access to services
I strongly believe Wallaby Gully needs more access to services. It’s 2018 and this community still doesn’t have bin service, phone lines or the internet.
We need bin service because the whole community starts to stink. Also rats are starting to come to people’s houses, since there are cats that rip up the bins. If we had bin services people wouldn’t be dumping their rubbish illegally. We need phone services for safety reasons. If someone we know got into a car accident, for example, we could only call the emergency number. We can’t contact any relatives or anyone else if something exciting is about to occur. It will also prevent isolation which causes loneliness.
People won’t want to live there anymore because of the stench and lack of services. Without the internet, they won’t be able to post pretty photos of where they are, which is sad, especially when we live at the bottom of the beautiful Watagan Mountains.