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Liberal pledge for new Whittlesea police station

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By Colin MacGillivray

The Liberal Party has vowed to build a new $35 million police station in the Whittlesea township if the Coalition forms government at this month’s state election.

Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell and candidate for Yan Yean Richard Welch announced the funding last week, claiming the new station would operate 24 hours a day.

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The existing station was built in the 1960s and Ms Lovell said it was inadequate for modern policing needs, with no disabled access or private interview rooms and asbestos lining the walls.

“The Whittlesea Police Station has outlived its useable life span … and our police deserve better,” she said.

“There is very little privacy for interviewing people if they are reporting a domestic violence incident or a sexual assault.”

The Liberal-Nationals Coalition pledged $2 million to refurbish the existing station at the 2018 state election, but Mr Welch said the opposition decided to increase its commitment to build a new, modern station.

“This is a classic example of us listening to the community. The community have been asking for reinvestment into the station, because the Whittlesea Police Station is a paint-peeling weatherboard house, completely inadequate to the needs of a growing community,” he said.

“This is a case of responding not only to the immediate needs of the community, but having a forward-looking view as our population doubles.”

Ms Lovell said having a police station open at all hours would benefit the community.

“When Mernda [Police Station] was built [in 2017] there was concern Labor was going to close down the Whittlesea station altogether,” she said.

“Having a police station open 24 hours is very important for a community that is a little bit remote. There was a lot of rural theft there a little while ago, and without a 24-7 presence it takes a long time for police to get there after hours.

“This will be a real bonus for the Whittlesea community and help people to feel more secure and safer.”

Mr Welch said he was unsure of how many officers would occupy the new station and that the police union would dictate staffing matters.

Shadow Police Minister Brad Battin said Labor had broken an election promise to upgrade the Whittlesea Police Station in 2018.

“Whittlesea can’t afford another four years of neglect,” he said.

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