July 11, 2018
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has labelled Police Minister Mark Ryan’s response to the official “Reclaim The South Burnett” E-petition as “too little, too late”.
Mr Ryan’s official response to the petition (231kb PDF) – which attracted 784 signatures before it closed on June 14 – was received by the Clerk of the House on Tuesday.
(A Minister must forward a response to a petition to the Clerk within 30 days of a petition being presented to Parliament.)
Mrs Frecklington said her calls for extra assistance for the Murgon and Cherbourg communities, in particular, had gone unnoticed for months.
She said she had written to the Minister three times since February this year.
Her letters included details of incidents at St Joseph’s Catholic Parish, Murgon State High School, Murgon State School and Cherbourg State School as well as the theft of multiple vehicles.
“All schools have experienced multiple break-ins over many months, leading to lost classroom time for students, extra workload for staff and financial loss,” she wrote.
Mrs Frecklington said it had taken Mr Ryan months to finally realise something needed to be done.
“It’s insulting for the community that their desperate calls have gone unheard,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Why did it take a police officer being hurt during the terrible incident in Cherbourg just recently before the Minister offered any help at all?
“It was even admitted in Murgon this week, by the Police Service, that it wasn’t until their officers were hurt that the Labor Government were kicked into action.
“I know the community is very disappointed it has taken so long. They have been living with the constant threat of break-ins, stolen cars and property damage.
“It is taking its toll, especially on our elderly and children.
“While I welcome the deployment of a senior officer, and the Tactical Crime Squad, I am very concerned that this may be a band-aid solution.
“I really want to see a long-term strategy to boost police resources and restore safety, not a fly-in, fly-out response.
“There are also four new officers in Murgon, however, these are not new roles, just vacancies which have finally been filled. I will continue to fight on behalf of the community.
“I would also really like to congratulate and thank the South Burnett community for stepping up and signing the petition.
“While it has taken too long for crime in our region to be acknowledged, the support for the petition did highlight the importance and urgency of this issue.”
Earlier On Wednesday:
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has asked why it took Police Minister Ryan “so long” to fill vacant police positions in the Murgon / Cherbourg area.
Quizzed by reporters in Brisbane about recent South Burnett crime, the Member for Nanango said four police positions had been vacant all year.
“I also think it’s a damning indictment on this Police Minister that he had to wait until one of his police officers got hurt before he took action,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“I think this Minister is out of touch. He’s certainly out of touch with my local community.
“I’ve been talking about this issue for many, many months.
“My community has been rallying about this issue.
“We had to put a petition to Parliament to make this Minister stand up and listen.
“Our local police officers who are doing such a hard job out there … they’ve been feeding it up through the system.
“It has taken for a police officer to get hurt before the Police Minister cared enough about my community to do something.
“I think it was extraordinary that my community had to put their signatures on a piece of paper to reclaim the South Burnett, to make our community safe again.
“I hope our community does become safe again. It is a wonderful community.
“But it is a shame that Annastacia Palaszczuk and her incompetent Police Minister don’t care enough about my community to listen to me as the local Member and also to my community.
“Why did 863 people have to put their signatures to a piece of paper before this Police Minister would act?”
[Originally published as “MP Blames Police Minister’s ‘Delay’ “]