The Newman Government is again cutting frontline regional services through proposed changes to the structure of the Queensland Police Service.
Having many senior officers across the state might seem ‘top heavy’ to the Newman Government but the years of experience and knowledge that they’ve built up are invaluable to policing, particularly those who’ve had experience in regional parts of the state like Babinda, Innisfail and Gordonvale. This is yet another kick in the guts to regional Queensland from a SEQ-centric government and the proposed changes are further evidence of weakening the links between the QPS and communities across Queensland. A reduction in QPS regions from eight to five means FNQ the Cairns Innisfail Districts will report to Townsville.
No matter which way you look at it, cutting 150 jobs in the Queensland Police Service will reduce its regional presence. It’s hard enough with the existing structure and resources for commissioned officers to properly engage with local police and these proposals just widen the gap between decision makers and local communities.
Why has Townsville been made the centre of decision making given that the Federal Government and the QPS thought Cairns should be at the forefront of counter terrorism with the BEARCAT being based in FNQ? This decision was made because of the Cairns International Airport and also because of the G20 finance Ministers’ meeting venue.
We should also not forget the important role senior police play in times of disaster coordination – the FNQ Region has greater experience in this area than those based in Townsville, particularly when it comes to cyclone responses.
Let’s not forget the hundreds of ‘civilian’ positions in the QPS that have been axed over the past year. Many of these are administrative positions but they were doing work that will now need to be done by an officer who could be out in the community on the beat. These cuts all have an impact on the frontline, even if they aren’t deemed to be frontline positions.
Finally, Queensland is not on a ‘power dive into the abyss’ or ‘nearly bankrupt’ or ‘like Spain’ but with these kind of austerity-type measures you’d think we were. The decision to restructure the QPS is yet another ideological change by the Newman Government using so-called problems with the State’s finances as the reason for cost cutting. The premise on which the LNP’s cost cutting measures is based – including the politically biased Costello Audit – was exposed for the nonsense it is during the 2012-13 Budget.
This is a Government already out of touch.