I rise to again raise the community’s concerns in regard to the West Heidelberg police station. I finally received a letter from the Minister for Police and Emergency Services at the behest of you, Speaker, but some two months later, in reply to an adjournment matter I raised eight weeks ago. The letter confirmed the fears of the community and what we knew all along, and that is that the West Heidelberg police station, which has been closed since December, will remain closed. I quote in part from the letter from Minister Ryan, which states:
- … the station remains able to be staffed as required.
The West Heidelberg community in the Ivanhoe electorate requires it to be staffed now, and the letter clearly states that it is only able to be staffed, not that it will be staffed and reopened.
Minister Ryan goes on to say:
- The chief commissioner has indicated that the 80 hours per fortnight that were rostered to the West Heidelberg counter inquiries will continue to be used to service the needs of the Banyule community —
but not at West Heidelberg police station.
What I say on behalf of the community is that this is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is robbing the West Heidelberg community of its police resources to plug holes in the police budget in other parts of Banyule in the Ivanhoe electorate.
That is totally unsatisfactory. Those 80 hours per fortnight should continue to be delivered by staff on the roster at West Heidelberg police station. If there are shortfalls in the police budget for the Ivanhoe electorate, which clearly there are, then the government should provide additional resources, not swipe them from West Heidelberg. We will continue to fight hard for the reopening of the West Heidelberg police station, and I urge the government to do so.