26 April 2024

Rural safety in focus: Cootamundra MP urges public participation

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke discussing the regional crime inquiry with Acting Sergeant Aimee Bannister at the Wallendbeen Police Station. Photo: Supplied.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is calling for the inquiry into regional crime to visit the Riverina.

Ms Cooke said she had written to the chair of the parliamentary inquiry requesting that committee members hold a public hearing in the area.

The Country Mayors Association first called for an inquiry in October 2023.

The NSW Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Law and Safety launched an inquiry into community safety in regional and rural communities in March. The parliamentary inquiry is set to examine various aspects of crime in the regions, including causes, impacts on individuals and communities, and potential solutions. It aims to outline targeted strategies to improve safety and security for residents.

“The inquiry is currently seeking input from residents across regional NSW to help identify issues related to crime in rural and regional areas,” Ms Cooke said.

“This is a really important opportunity for our community to share its experiences and perspectives on crime in our region.

“The input from members of our communities can play a vital role in shaping recommendations that will address regional crime and enhance community safety.”

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Ms Cooke said locals had the opportunity to contribute to the inquiry through written submissions.

“The submissions are being accepted until the end of May, and that process is a really important way for us to ensure our voices are heard,” Ms Cooke said.

“I have written to the committee chair requesting that panel members conduct a public hearing in our region, to ensure they see firsthand the circumstances we’re facing, including the need for a new police station in Young, the need for 24/7 policing in Cowra, along with the need for adequate police infrastructure and resourcing in other areas, such as in places like Narrandera,” she said.

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Ms Cooke said precious time had already been lost after the government initially rejected the idea of an inquiry.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Country Mayors Association – led by Chairman Mayor Jamie Chaffey – along with the CWA, NSW Farmers, the Police Association, and Shadow Police Minister Paul Toole, we’ve finally been able to get this inquiry up and running,” Ms Cooke said.

“It’s certainly a case of better late than never, and I encourage everyone in our region to take part in this process. Your submissions can help create meaningful change and ensure our community’s unique needs are addressed in future policies and legislation.”

Follow the link to find out about the submissions or contact the electorate office on (02) 6382 2399 for further information.

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