Shoalhaven Police Stations

The Hon. PAUL GREEN: I direct my question to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. What is the current situation with regard to plans for a new police station at either the crossroads of Wool Road and Jervis Bay Road, Vincentia, or Sanctuary Point?

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I thank the member for not only the question but also his ongoing interest in this issue together with the local member, the Hon. Shelley Hancock—

The Hon. Walt Secord: You mean Sally Hitchcock.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: That interjection demonstrates how out of touch members opposite are; they do not even know who the Speaker of the lower House is. They most certainly know the Hon. Paul Green.

The Hon. Walt Secord: Point of order: We do know who the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is: It is Sally Hitchcock.

The PRESIDENT: Order! If there is any repeat of that sort of flippant point of order by the member he will find himself being called to order.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I thank the Hon. Paul Green for his ongoing interest in this issue. Of course, the community has been concerned about police resources at Huskisson. Capital works decisions are quite rightly made by the NSW Police Force, and it is very mindful of the situation. The council has been prepared to work with police and some suggestions have been made, even a suggestion about the building of an emergency service precinct in that area. That is worthy of serious consideration by the police and the other interested parties in the emergency service field. I make no apologies for the fact that the Government had to make a decision when it first came to office that has restricted its ability to consider new police stations in the short term.

As a result of the neglect of members opposite, we were left with an asbestos remediation bill of close to $100 million. Members will remember the days when members of the Labor Government talked about looking after the workers and dealing with asbestos-related illnesses; it was their primary consideration. However, when I raise it in relation to this discussion, as I have on a number of occasions, they carry on as though it is the first time they have heard about it. They know that they have been exposed as having ignored the problem, which meant that money that should have been spent on new police premises is being spent on the rehabilitation of existing police premises and homes where police personnel live with their kids. Walls were painted with lead-based paint and members opposite did nothing about it. There was asbestos in police premises and they did absolutely nothing about it.

The Hon. Steve Whan: Point of order: I resent the reflection the Minister is making on members of the Opposition. That is simply untrue.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The member will resume his seat.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I will seek advice from the NSW Police Property Group about— [Time expired.]

The Hon. PAUL GREEN: I ask a supplementary question. Given that we have helped the Government save $19 billion, surely we can have a few dollars for a police station at Vincentia.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: As I have indicated, I will speak to the NSW Police Property Group about its capital works priorities. People in that area are quite rightly concerned. However, I invite members to visit Taree police station or Mount Druitt police station to see what the local officers have to put up with. I understand local members going to bat for their electorates—that is exactly what they should be doing, whether it be Shelley Hancock, the member for South Coast and the Speaker, the Hon. Paul Green, or you, Mr President. However, it is important that all members understand—

The Hon. Amanda Fazio: He moved to Vincentia.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: The Hon. Amanda Fazio should be quiet. Last week was so pleasant; it was a lovely week because we got through so much business and there was no bitterness.

The Hon. Lynda Voltz: Point of order: Obviously, the Minister is not being relevant to the question. I ask that he be brought back to the leave of the question.

The PRESIDENT: Order! However valid his response, the Minister should not have responded to the Hon. Amanda Fazio’s interjections.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: She is too tempting. She tempts us all the time. I will ask the Police Force for a report regarding its priorities, as the member has asked. I can assure the House that many police premises around the State are incredibly worthy, as are those in the Shoalhaven, but we leave it to the police, not to politicians, to determine their priorities based on their assessments regarding their resources. It is limited by virtue of the fact that we provided close to $100 million to assist in remediation works—money we would have liked to have spent elsewhere.