MATTERS OF STATE: More of the force is with us after re-re-engineering

QUESTIONS ... I'VE GOT A FEW: Member for Orange Philip Donato is hoping to shake up the requirements of ministers answering written questions. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
QUESTIONS ... I'VE GOT A FEW: Member for Orange Philip Donato is hoping to shake up the requirements of ministers answering written questions. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

FOLLOWING the police minister’s announced “re-engineering” of the NSW Police Force, Orange failed to benefit from any additional frontline officers, despite Troy Grant’s publicity campaign to assure the community there would be more boots on the ground.

The committee from a much-unified Orange branch of the Police association approached me to confirm what I knew – no more first response police would be coming to Orange under the “re-engineering”. The representatives of the association provided me with tangible data to support their claim for a minimum of four additional first responders.

Following that meeting, I contacted Assistant Commissioner Gary Worboys to personally request a minimum of four full-time equivalent first response police for Orange. I submitted a written question to the minister for police and my colleague Robert Brown delivered a question without notice in the Legislative Council.

This reasonable request was not met, so I launched a campaign to support our community’s needs and our men and women in blue. The government relented; I was officially advised that the Orange Police Station will receive an additional four front line positions from March 11 to meet the increased workload.

ASKING THE QUESTIONS

SINCE being elected to represent the electorate of Orange in the NSW Parliament, I have met with hundreds of constituents who have sought my assistance with a wide variety of issues they face.

There are a number of ways I seek information from the government, however one option is using the limited allocations of written questions I am provided. I use written questions to succinctly ask for information relating specifically to their ministerial portfolio, which they ought to have complete control of and total access to.

The recipient of each question has 35 days to respond to the question. The responses from a number of government ministers have either failed to answer simple questions or have been responded to with a reference or link to where the answer might be located.

Given that the questions have been asked on behalf of you, the community of the Orange electorate, this government has allowed rogue ministers to treat our community with contempt, and it is not acceptable.

Last year I sought to instigate a debate in NSW Parliament by delivering a notice of motion to the Legislative Assembly.

I called upon the government to ensure all of its minsters provide answers relevant to the written questions directed to them by all members of parliament, and demanded all government ministers respect constituents who seek answers to written questions by ensuring its ministers provide information which is relevant to the written questions asked of them.

COMMUNITY GROUP GRANTS

ONE of the most accessible grants for community and sporting groups is the Community Building Partnership (CBP) program, which provides $300,000 to be shared among successful applicants in each electorate.

For those organisations interested in applying this year, applications open 9am on May 7 and close 5pm on June 15.

Member for Orange Philip Donato

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