Opinion

‘Safe’ rating threatened without right support

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

In years past Deniliquin has been recognised for being one of the safest towns in Australia.

A decade ago we received accolades for the safest town in New South Wales, which brought valuable national publicity.

In fact, it is a strong point of local liveability that is not used enough to promote the benefits of life in a community such as ours.

At a time when there is ongoing concern about public safety, especially in Melbourne, our safety should be used to help attract new residents looking for an improved lifestyle.

But getting the tick of ‘safety’ is not enough ... it must be maintained.

As we have said in the past, the NSW Government’s downgrading of the Deniliquin police command, straight after it opened a new $18 million police station, was a strange and disappointing decision.

Even more disappointing was the fact our local state member, Austin Evans, refused to oppose it. He claimed the downgrade could lead to more police in smaller stations throughout the region, and while this is worthy of support we believe there was always a strong argument for both — that is, boosting police numbers in small communities without sacrificing the command centre in Deniliquin.

The latest issue of concern around community safety are claims the Police District does not have sufficient resources to investigate child sex offences and monitor child sex offenders (see page 10).

This is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed by the NSW Government.

It seems incongruous that our state’s police leaders can find an abundance of officers to make the annual trek to Deniliquin on Ute Muster weekend — and charge our community $100,000 for the privilege — yet not find the officers needed to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

We believe this issue needs immediate investigation and if the Police Association’s claims of staff shortages are correct, quick remedial action must be taken.

Our community, including those who enforce the law and order, should be justifiably proud to be part of a town that is recognised for its safety.

Everything possible must be done to ensure it stays that way, and with such an important matter the bureaucracy trying to cut corners — as is its aim so often — cannot be tolerated.