March 21, 2018
Murgon needs a funding boost for crime prevention, not a massive 85 per cent funding cut in Neighbourhood Watch services, Opposition Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said on Wednesday.
Mrs Frecklington said she was appalled funding for the Queensland’s 400 Neighbourhood Watch groups had been slashed from $500,000 a year to just $75,000.
“In communities like Murgon, we need a funding boost for crime prevention, not savage cuts like we’re seeing with this Labor Government,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“At my Mobile Office in Murgon last week, I met with many people who are concerned about the level of crime in the region.
“I just can’t believe the Palaszczuk Government would target groups like Neighbourhood Watch for spending cuts.
“Neighbourhood Watch volunteers are a vital link between police and communities and we have several successful groups around the South Burnett including Kumbia, Wondai and Murgon which have been operating for many years.
“We need to boost community involvement in crime prevention, not destroy it.”
Murgon Neighbourhood Watch Area Co-ordinator Darren Buckley met with Mrs Frecklington at the Murgon Mobile Office and agreed the funding cuts were very concerning.
“I’ve been involved with Neighbourhood Watch for about 15 years,” he said.
“It’s disappointing to see funding cuts, especially in Neighbourhood Watch’s 30th year, when we should be celebrating our many achievements.”
Police Minister Mark Ryan said funding for the program had come from the Queensland Police Service’s own budget.
“If the Commissioner decides it is better to fund other crime-fighting measures, such as resourcing officers or more police on the beat, that is his decision and I support it,” Mr Ryan told media.
Footnote: LNP Member for Ninderry Dan Purdie, a former police officer, has launched an online petition against the Neighbourhood Watch funding cuts.