Mr POWELL (Glass House—LNP) (2.57 pm): I want to start today by putting on the public record my ongoing support for the great work of our Queensland police officers. I take very seriously my role in terms of advocating that my local police officers are appropriately resourced and lodged, and that includes having enough officers in any given location.
I acknowledge again the extra officers posted to Maleny. They are a welcome addition to the community and have lifted the burden that was on this previous two-officer station. But it is long overdue that a similar increase in staffing be afforded Woodford Police Station. Like the Maleny station before it, this station operates with two officers. A quick analysis of current and projected population data, compiled by the QPS, supports this call.
By 2016 it is anticipated that the Woodford police catchment will be home to 10,392 people. Comparisons across Queensland suggest a staffing increase is desperately needed. Bargara, with a projected population of a little more—at 11,150—already has six officers. Proserpine, with a significantly smaller population—6,565—has eight officers. Similarly, Nanango, with a population of 6,514, has six officers. Even Pomona in the Noosa hinterland, with a projected population of 5,989, has four officers.
If population and growth data is not sufficient to plead the case, let me throw in a few on-theground realities. Members know that I speak often about the D’Aguilar Highway and the ongoing road deaths and accidents that occur along it. More often than not, it is the officer from Woodford who attends. Woodford is home to the Woodford Correctional Centre. While that facility sits relatively comfortably with the community now, it continues to bring associated challenges for the local police
Woodford is also home to the Woodford Folk Festival and currently Splendour in the Grass. Because of the shortfall in local officers, the team needs to be constantly increased to meet the road and related duties that come with hosting these fantastic events. I believe there is a strong and compelling case to see Woodford Police Station staffed with at least four, if not six, officers. I will be writing to the Minister for Police seeking his support and action in this matter.