The Country Mayors
of NSW Inc

“What we want is nothing more than equity”

NSW Police Minister dismisses regional crime inquiry as a ‘TALKFEST’

The Country Mayors Association of NSW (CMA) has applauded the recent visit by the NSW Premier to the northwest region of the State.

On Thursday, 22 February, Premier Chris Minns joined Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, Mayor of Moree Mark Johnson, business leaders and community members to hear of their concerns of crime in the community and to see personally the impact of that crime.

In October 2023, Country Mayors launched a report at NSW Parliament House that detailed alarming levels of crime in rural, regional and remote Local Government Areas when compared to metropolitan communities. The data reported was generated by BOCSAR (the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research).

“The report also highlighted the inequity of the distribution of the policing resources in NSW according to the incidents of crime,” CMA Chair and Gunnedah Shire Mayor Cr Jamie Chaffey said.

CWA, NSW farmers and the NSW police association added their support to the CMA’s calls for the four recommendations within the report to be acted on by the NSW government. The first recommendation calls for an inquiry to be established to allow regional communities to share their frightening experiences, and to give them a say on how the government should fix the problems they are facing.

Cr Chaffey stated that the last four months had been extremely frustrating, with NSW Government MPs not supporting calls for the establishment of an inquiry. However, he noted many Coalition, minor parties and cross-bench MPs had been extremely supportive.

Earlier this month, the NSW government established an inquiry into the “impact of the Rozelle interchange”. One of the terms of reference in this inquiry is to review the social, environmental and economic impacts of the Rozelle Interchange project on impacted communities.

Cr Chaffey said surely an inquiry into the impact of crime in Regional NSW that covers 90% of the land mass of the State was worthy of government support if they were happy to focus on an intersection in Western Sydney.

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley, when pushed by Upper House MP Sarah Mitchell in Budget Estimates last week as to why she would not support the CMA calls for an inquiry into regional crime, stated it was nothing more than a “talkfest”.

Cr Chaffey said the Minister’s comments were a slap in the face for the millions of residents of regional communities throughout NSW.

“Residents of regional communities who have had a crime committed against them deserve better than this,” Cr Chaffey said. “They deserve to be heard, and the best way for that to happen is through an inquiry into regional crime.”

“Premier Minns’ visit last Thursday and acknowledgment of the seriousness of the regional crime situation gives justification to the CMA’s report and calls for help.”

“The absence of the NSW Police Minister from Thursday’s regional visit is of major concern. This was a missed opportunity to gain frontline insights into the severity of the regional crime crisis.

Country Mayors and our member Councils in NSW are ideally placed to be part of the solution,” he said.

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