Our safe sta­tus must be pro­moted, main­tained

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

There are many ad­van­tages of liv­ing in a ru­ral com­mu­nity, but near the top of the list must be the safety as­pect.

Lat­est crime fig­ures show De­niliquin re­mains one of the safest places to live in New South Wales, which is some­thing we should cel­e­brate.

It is also a strong sell­ing point for our com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially when try­ing to at­tract peo­ple from cities and larger re­gional cen­tres.

The crime es­ca­la­tion con­tin­ues to be a huge prob­lem for our near­est cap­i­tal city, Mel­bourne, and the in­abil­ity to keep it un­der con­trol must lead some of its res­i­dents to ques­tion whether it is the place they want to live.

Nearby re­gional cen­tres such as Shep­par­ton also have their crime is­sues, with au­thor­i­ties strug­gling to keep it un­der con­trol.

De­niliquin is a log­i­cal al­ter­na­tive for any­one con­sid­er­ing a ‘tree change’ to a safer com­mu­nity.

Thir­teen years ago this was heav­ily pro­moted and gen­er­ated na­tional me­dia cov­er­age. Per­haps it is time to re­visit the ad­van­tages of liv­ing in a safe com­mu­nity as part of a broader live­abil­ity cam­paign.

There is no doubt the na­ture of De­niliquin’s econ­omy and pros­per­ity are go­ing to con­tin­u­ally change as we are forced to de­velop less re­liance on be­ing a ser­vice cen­tre for sur­round­ing agri­cul­ture.

As part of this change we are im­prov­ing var­i­ous ser­vices, es­pe­cially for the young and old with de­vel­op­ments at Na­vo­rina, the Chil­dren’s Cen­tre and the pro­posed re­tire­ment vil­lage.

With the last two of these, liv­ing in a safe com­mu­nity is an im­por­tant com­po­nent — it can help us at­tract more fam­i­lies who will use the Chil­dren’s Cen­tre, and is cru­cial for coax­ing re­tirees.

We still be­lieve it is dis­ap­point­ing the NSW Gov­ern­ment down­graded our po­lice ser­vice just months af­ter open­ing the new $18 mil­lion po­lice sta­tion. At the time the gov­ern­ment promised no re­duc­tion in po­lice num­bers and un­like many po­lit­i­cal prom­ises we have seen this one needs to be kept.

If we are to re­tain our stand­ing as a safe com­mu­nity it is im­per­a­tive we con­tinue to have the po­lice force which is nec­es­sary to dis­cour­age crime.

There re­mains a se­ri­ous risk that the NSW Gov­ern­ment will do what it has done to many of its de­part­ments in re­gional ar­eas — down­grade and ra­tio­nalise so more money is avail­able for large re­gional cen­tres and cap­i­tal cities.

To re­tain our sta­tus as one of the safest places to live, this can­not be al­lowed to hap­pen.

And while the statis­tics show that we are among the safest, our lead­ers need to use this in­flu­en­tial fact to help high­light the ben­e­fits of liv­ing in a safe and friendly coun­try town.

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