Monday, 12th September, 2011
Police in western NSW have said there was nothing in the state budget to help upgrade and repair police housing.
The Police Association of NSW said this was despite Police Minister Mike Gallacher saying before the election that the issue would be a priority for the new government.
The union has been calling on the State Government to allocate $100 million to fix police housing, which it says is in a deplorable state due to a lack of funding, mismanagement and neglect by the Police Force and Government.
The PANSW said the amount of money needed to repair police housing would rapidly increase unless something is done immediately.
“Before he was elected, the Minister of Police Mike Gallacher toured western NSW and said he and his government would make police housing a priority,” association president Scott Weber said in a statement.
“It can’t be that much of a priority if its not even in the state budget.
“In the State budget handed down on Tuesday there was no money allocated to police housing.
“Instead the opposite occurred and there was a $10 million reduction in total capital expenditure.
“For many years police and their families have had to put up with living in deplorable sub-standard housing to ensure regional areas have a police presence. And now we find out that most of those houses are contaminated by asbestos, lead paint or both.”
Mr Weber said the hierarchy of the police force has withheld hundreds of hazardous materials reports on the police houses, which has put police officers and their families at unnecessary and continuing risk.
“For our members to now find out that no money has been set aside in the state budget to make these houses inhabitable is just another smack in the face to our hard working police and their families.”
The Police Association urged the State Government to immediately rectify the situation by setting aside a stand-alone and protected ‘Police Housing Capital Works Budget’ and fund it to $100 million.
“The Government needs to commit to fixing this problem and that means commit money and commit it now.”