Public Works Committee: New Henley Beach Police Station


Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (11:32): I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on the Public Works Committee report on the Henley Beach Police Station. I know that, in due course, some of my colleagues will no doubt have some interesting words to say about the matter. Obviously any new infrastructure in the police portfolio is of significant interest to me as the shadow police minister. In a year when the Labor Party has shut down eight police stations, it is nice to see that they are at least trying to open one up, given the rhetoric that we have had to deal with at every election campaign.

In fact, as recently as last year's election, the Labor Party was happy to castigate and criticise the former Liberal government for, in the wake of the State Bank fiasco, allowing the police to shut down eight police stations in the period from 1993 to 2002. In 2015, in the last six weeks, eight more police stations have closed, and I think that goes to the character of the government, frankly. At any rate, the Henley Beach Police Station is on its way and I am glad that the Public Works Committee has had a chance to consider some of the matters to do with it.

I note that when the budget came out last week, the due date for completion of the Henley Beach Police Station was listed as June 2017. This also comes as a surprise, I imagine, to the member for Colton's constituents, because when he took it to the election as an election promise, it was the biggest spending proposal that the government took to the election in March 2014. The people of Colton were promised a new police station when? June 2016. In last year's budget papers, it was June 2016.

I look forward to the government explaining why there has been, in fact, a year's delay on the delivery of the Henley Beach Police Station. I think governments should say what they mean and mean what they say and, when they go to an election saying that something is going to happen, they should make every endeavour to ensure that it happens. If they cannot, if it is in fact unreasonable or unachievable to expect that June 2016 was ever possible, then the government has a duty to explain to the people of Colton why it told them they would have a new police station 12 months from now, rather than in two years time (just before the next election).

This is going to be a significant police station in that there are some unusual and fairly significant security measures being undertaken in its construction that are going to be of interest to local residents and, potentially, very important for the security of the officers who are serving in this facility. We will note with interest how that develops in the years ahead and look forward to its construction.

I hope that when the Henley Beach station is delivered for the community in the western suburbs and the police officers who are serving there, it does not have the same face as the Newton Police Station, the Hallett Cove Police Station, the Malvern Police Station, the other five police stations that were promised to the people of local electorates (mostly in marginal seats, you would not be surprised to find out) where they were opened by this Labor government and then subsequently shut just seven or eight years later.

The Hallett Cove Police Station was promised ahead of the 2006 election, opened in 2008 and now is closed in 2015. It had a seven-year lifespan. So, I hope the people of the western suburbs and the South Australian police are not confronted by the prospect that it might be opened in June 2017 only to be closed by the Labor government several weeks later because that is, of course—hopefully, for the people of South Australia's sake—all this Labor government will have left between the construction of this police station and a new and better government that will deliver far better things for the people of South Australia. With that, I support the motion.