Mernda Police Station

Ms GREEN (Yan Yean) — I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Police. The action I seek is that he visit the Mernda and Doreen community to update it on the progress of the Andrews Labor government’s election commitment to build a police station to serve this rapidly growing community. This community’s pleas to the previous government to provide it with a police station fell on deaf ears, and this is a community that doubled in population between 2011 and 2014. It is now around the size of the city of Greater Shepparton. During this period community representatives raised this issue with the previous government, and the previous Minister for Police and Emergency Services refused to meet with the community and visit it to observe the problems and listen to people’s concerns.

The community was concerned about its postcode being in the top five in the state for numbers of burglaries. Sadly, there has also been a huge increase in reports of family violence in the area, and evidence from local police indicates that incidents of family violence were more likely to be serious in the area. Furthermore, it seems that because women were aware of how far away the police were, they were not reporting lower level type offences. There has also been a significant problem with hoon driving in the area.

I have been concerned to see that despite early support from Whittlesea City Council, Liberal councillors in the north ward have now withdrawn support for a police station in Mernda and seem to be pushing for a larger facility in South Morang. I am not for changing. I am still standing up for Mernda and Doreen, because this community has doubled in size since 2011 and 2014. As an elected representative for this area, I will deliver on commitments I have made. I will not backtrack as the Liberal councillors are doing, particularly Cr Christine Stow. I am also concerned that a Mernda residents group is also favouring a police station in South Morang.

I want to congratulate Tom Joseph, a Mernda resident who has been tireless in his advocacy for a police station for Mernda. It has been a great pleasure for me to work with Tom. He is a former member of the Liberal Party, and he revoked his membership of the party due to his disgust with its lack of action on this issue.

I stand strong with the Mernda community. I urge the Minister for Police to come out and talk members of the community through the rollout and provide an indication of when this police station will be delivered.