Commuters in Bendigo will be waiting years before Protective Service Officers (PSOs) start patrolling regional stations, Acting Shadow Police Minister, James Merlino said today.
Visiting Kangaroo Flat Railway Station with Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, Mr Merlino said the Baillieu-Ryan Government was putting the needs of Melbourne commuters ahead of those in regional Victoria.
“The PSO policy is in complete disarray, and regional commuters have been forgotten by the Baillieu-Ryan Government,” Mr Merlino said.
“The Liberal-National Government originally promised PSOs would patrol 13 stations across regional Victoria, including Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk.
“However the Coalition subsequently back-flipped on this commitment and now PSOs will patrol only four regional railway stations and Kangaroo Flat is going to miss out.
“It’s now been revealed that commuters will have to wait until at least 2014 before PSOs are deployed to stations in regional Victoria.
“Given the glacial progress of the Baillieu-Ryan Government in recruiting the 940 PSOs, Labor fears the timeframe will blow out and leave commuters waiting even longer.
“At the current rate, it will take nearly 60 years to fill all 940 positions, let alone replace PSOs who leave.”
Ms Edwards said the Government had let down commuters in Bendigo.
“The Government has shamelessly turned its back on its commitment to put PSOs on Kangaroo Flat station,” Ms Edwards said.
“Mr Baillieu needs to tell the community why he believes Bendigo commuters aren’t important enough to have PSOs as promised.”