MR DIMOPOULOS (Oakleigh) — (12 558) I wish to raise a matter for the Minister for Police. The action I seek is for the minister to visit the Oakleigh electorate to meet with local police officers and discuss the policing needs of our community.
As members are aware, though some opposite like to ignore it, the Andrews government is recruiting over 3000 new police officers in Victoria. This is the biggest recruitment of police in Victoria’s history. There is more equipment, better technology and more helicopters, vehicles and aircraft. This is a $2 billion investment. It follows on from the massive recruitment that took place during the Bracks and Brumby Labor government years.
As we know, the previous Liberal government failed to invest in police. They did not fund any additional frontline officers in their four long years of government. Funding was cut. Around 500 police staff lost their jobs. In my own community, police numbers dropped significantly between 2010 and 2014. Stations across Victoria were closed. And do you know what? They even effectively closed the Murrumbeena police station in my electorate in 2013. But what members might not be aware was that it was not the first time they closed this station. They had form. They had also closed it back in 1999.
Locals do not believe for a second that the Liberals have a real commitment to police in our community. They have shown their true colours on police for over a generation now. Let us also not forget that under the Liberal government in the 1990s police numbers were reduced by around 800 and stations were closed. If you want to look at the facts, you need to go back as far as 1982 to see the last time a Liberal government funded additional police officers. I believe the shadow Minister for Police had not long been in primary school at that time. Those are the facts. They are not alternative facts either. These are the real facts.
It is Labor governments that fund police, just as we fund paramedics, nurses, teachers and all sorts of public servants who look after us, and we have the record to prove it. I was very pleased to be with the minister at the police academy in Glen Waverley in December to welcome new police and protective services officer graduates. They are already on the beat. I would welcome the minister coming to the Oakleigh electorate to meet with me and local police. I know she has shown a real commitment to the police portfolio and to people. We have a government that is making a real effort on law and order, more than any other government before it.