Member for Monaro John Barilaro has been criticised for failing to deliver on a promise to the people of Queanbeyan to build a new police station.
Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson said Mr Barilaro and the government had “walked away” from their promise after it came out the Queanbeyan police would not get a new station.
During Budget Estimates questioning in late August, Police Minister Troy Grant announced the government had signed a non-binding heads of agreement for police to lease two floors within the new council building to be built on Lowe Street.
The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council released concept designs for the project in July, however the development will still require approval from the newly elected council. Further designs would then be required with the earliest expected date of completion in early 2019.
The council would be responsible for the cost of the development while Mr Grant said the state government would cover any costs for the police’s specialised needs.
Mr Wilson said for the government to tie the future of Queanbeyan police to a project in its initial stages was disappointing.
““Frankly, our police and our community deserve better,” Mr Wilson said.
“It seems only logical to conclude that the NSW government, and the Member for Monaro, have walked away from their commitment to rebuild the police station or at the very least have parked it on QPRC’s projects list.”
Mr Barilaro promised $15 million dollars in March 2015 to replace the station, this was increased to $17 million in the 2016 budget.
In 2015 the station was described as having a first floor which “bends like a banana” and inadequate female toilets. Superintendent Rod Smith said at the time that between 80 and 100 police officers worked in pretty awful conditions which required them to seek nearby accommodation for one unit.
Queanbeyan Police declined to comment on the most recent developments.
Mr Barilaro said the government remained committed to upgrading facilities for Queanbeyan police and were “actively investigating a number of options to pursue”.
He did not respond to questions about the change of plans.
"During the 2015 election I committed to the upgrade of the Queanbeyan Police station,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This is a commitment that the NSW Liberals and Nationals government will deliver in this term of government.
“During the course of investigation, the needs of the Queanbeyan Local Area Command will be taken into account so that we can best provide a suitable facility for our hard working men and women in uniform.”
In June 2016 Mr Barilaro said of the new police station: “It will be built on the current site and will be a modern, state-of-the-art facility which will improve service delivery to the local community”.
A spokeswoman for Mr Grant said while she was aware of other police stations that shared a premises with another entity, including Bankstown and Redfern stations, she could not provide a comprehensive list for NSW. She said while it may not be usual practice it was not unheard of for police to share premises.
A council spokesman said negotiations had been undertaken with a tenant but would not confirm whether this was NSW police.
“Council and a major tenant have signed a heads of agreement, however at this stage a lease has not been executed,” the spokesman said.
“The architects who have developed the design have worked closely with the potential lessee.
“A report is being finalised for next Wednesday's Council meeting which will update the new Council. The business paper will be available on Friday via Council's website.”