A MidCoast councillor believes it would make sense to include areas Tea Gardens and Stroud in the Manning Great Lakes police command.
Councillor Karen Hutchinson suggested this at a rally held outside Tea Gardens Police Station on Tuesday, November 28. Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest and Stroud are part of MidCoast Council.
“Stroud, Tea Gardens, Karuah and Dungog Police Stations (Port Stephens Area Command), will now be known as Port Stephens/Hunter Police District, a consolidation of Port Stephens LAC and the northern sectors of Central Hunter LAC,” she said.
“The travel time for a police officer to reach (Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest) will now be over an hour or even two if officers need to be deployed from the far west of this new command area.
“Not good enough! It is not a privilege to feel safe, it is a right!” Cr Hutchinson said.
“What I’d like to see is Stroud and Tea Gardens go into the Manning Great Lakes area command.
“Let’s draw a line and gather Tea Gardens and Stroud in. It just would make sense. We’re in the Manning Great Lakes for Rural Fire Service and education.”
Confusion in the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest community was sparked by a rumour that the NSW Government was proposing to close Karuah, Stroud and Tea Gardens Police Stations.
Residents of Hawks Nest, Tea Gardens and surrounding areas gathered outside the Tea Gardens Police Station to listen to an address by Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington.
“There is deep concern in the community about the re-engineering of the police system,” Ms Washington said.
“I have had assurance from police members of a senior level that no existing infrastructure will be lost, but local police and community are concerned the reforms will cause issues for the satellite police stations.
“What we want is absolute clarity that those stations won’t close. What is needed is more resources for those stations.”
A spokesperson from the Police Minister Troy Grant’s office denied that any police stations would be closing through the process.
“There is absolutely no truth to the statement,” the spokesperson said.
“No police stations will be closing down from this process. This is about putting more boots on the ground where they are needed, and that has been announced by Commissioner Fuller.”