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Gold Coast cops fresh Games snub

THE Gold Coast will not get a dedicated drug squad or an 88 extra police officers from the $60 million left over from the Commonwealth Games.

Labor refused to commit the money to bolster police numbers after being grilled in State Parliament yesterday for cuts to cop resources on the Gold Coast.

 

The Government and Commissioner Ian Stewart says the Coast will get its extra 44 officers but the commitment is across four years.

During a tense Question Time yesterday where Speaker Curtis Pitt rebuked MPs for "unacceptable" behaviour, the LNP asked seven policing questions, including:

• How could Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have confidence in Police Minister Mark Ryan after he gave three different figures in one day about Gold Coast police numbers.

• After a heartbreaking recent report showed Queenslanders dying from drug overdoses on the Coast has increased by 75 per cent in the past decade, would the Premier explain why her Government continued to deny resources for a dedicated drug squad.

• Given Police Commissioner Ian Stewart admitted "I would love more money" in the budget, would the Premier commit to allocating more resources for Coast police from the $60 million of leftover Commonwealth Games funds.

 

Ms Palaszczuk said any drug death was “heartbreaking. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Ms Palaszczuk said any drug death was “heartbreaking. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

The questions follow the launch of a petition by the LNP pressuring the Government to provide 88 extra police officers for the Coast.

The LNP bases the figure on the 44 extra police Labor promised before last year's State election and the city having 44 fewer cops than two years ago - from 886 in June 2016 to the 842 the Premier admitted the Coast had last month.

Labor argues the "44 positions less is a fallacy" and the more accurate figure was actual police strength which had increased from 1046 in June 2016 to 1059 in September this year.

The Government and Commissioner Ian Stewart says the Coast will get its extra 44 officers but the commitment is across four years.

The Premier told Parliament: "We have consistently made sure that the police budget goes from strength to strength."

Ms Palaszczuk said any drug death was "heartbreaking", the ice issue was nationwide and her government had addressed it through an action plan.

 

Queensland Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan faced a barrage of interjections as he defended the Government’s $2.4 billion capital works and operating budget for police addresses the media at Borallon Correctional Centre, in Brisbane, Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)
Queensland Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan faced a barrage of interjections as he defended the Government’s $2.4 billion capital works and operating budget for police addresses the media at Borallon Correctional Centre, in Brisbane, Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Treasurer Jackie Trad admitted that not only did Mr Ryan ask for police resources at every opportunity, he was provided with them.

"Let me say, the gall of those opposite to come into this place, to come into this place and argue the point about resourcing the police service," Ms Trad told Parliament.

The Government in almost four years had increased the police budget by almost 13 per cent, she said.

Under the LNP, she said the increase was about three per cent which "actually represented a cut because it did not keep up with inflation".

Mr Ryan faced a barrage of interjections as he defended the Government's $2.4 billion capital works and operating budget for police, saying it would provide more officers across the state than ever before.

"They always laugh when I talk about the good work of the police service. Every single time. They think it's a joke," he said.



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