Coalition calls for action on Benalla police station
27 July 2016
Wednesday 27 July 2016
Shadow Police Minister Edward O’Donohue visited Benalla again today to renew calls for funding for the Benalla police station.
Mr O’Donohue took aim at Daniel Andrews for failing to provide the funding necessary to provide Benalla police with a work environment that meets modern occupational health and safety standards.
“At a time when local police are under pressure with a 36.6 per cent rise in crime last year, the least the state government can do is provide a modern crime-fighting hub to help tackle the crime wave we are seeing,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“The station was built in the 1950s and is now the oldest 24 hour police station in the state.
“There are serious health and safety issues arising from electrical hazards, the building is riddled with asbestos and has inadequate facilities, particularly for female officers and there is no sprinkler system or fire alarm.”
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan described the government’s decision to fund minor refurbishment works instead of a full rebuild as “putting a bandaid over a gaping wound”.
“I understand that further work on the Benalla police station cannot be carried out until the building’s electrical wiring has been brought up to code,” Ms Ryan said.
“The issues are so significant that initial estimates are between $380,000 and $500,000 on electrical work just to make the building compliant.
“The building is not fit for purpose and the small changes the government is making are just a patch up job.
“New carpet is being laid and the mould that was a critical health risk to officers has been removed but due to water damage and the age of the building, those problems are likely to reappear.”
Ms Ryan said the Coalition had developed plans for an $11 million upgrade but Labor knocked back Victoria Police’s bid for funding when it was put forward for the state budget.
Instead Benalla police station is one of 15 stations sharing less than $3 million for refurbishments.