Mr BURGESS (Hastings) (09:47:22) — Last week the shadow Minister for Police, Edward O’Donohue in the Council, and I attended the Somerville police station to do something that should never have been necessary. We were there to make it clear that if elected in eight months time, a Guy government would open the police station that was worked for by the Somerville community, paid for and built by the Liberal Party but heartlessly denied by the Premier and the Labor Party — people who would deny a community safety just to satisfy their own political agenda.
An important aspect of the Liberal commitment to the local communities of Western Port was that no officers would be drawn from surrounding stations to staff Somerville. During its building I am aware of large numbers of expressions of interest from senior officers around the state to work at Somerville police station. Who would not want to work in such a fantastic area and such a wonderful community? If further officers were to be drawn from the 1900 additional police employed by the Liberal government, Hastings would keep its current contingent of officers while having the area that is required to be covered cut in half. This would be close to a doubling of Hastings police officers.
In stark contrast, the Andrews government has refused to provide any additional police to this community, where crime has risen to a crisis point. It is the same Labor Party that now sees the 24‑hour police station at Hastings reduced to one officer at night with orders never to open the door — a closure by stealth. The $16.3 million Somerville police station funded by the Liberal government was designed and built to be a fully functional, publicly accessible station for Somerville and the broader Mornington community. This important community safety project followed the election promise I gave in 2010.
This government and some within police command attempted to rewrite history, even suggesting at one point that Somerville police station was not a station at all and had been built as a complex as a new way of policing. Inconveniently for this government and some within police command that did not agree with them —