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Victorian Politician Jade Benham perplexed over cuts to policing proposal

A new proposal could put the safety of regional Victorians at risk, with potential cuts to funding for towns serviced by one-person police stations.

Photo credit: Victoria Police official Facebook page

Nationals Member for Mildura, Jade Benham, said there was significant cause for concern should the proposal succeed, when she appeared on the Country Viewpoint program on Flow FM.

"This could be disastrous and we've already had examples of this in Speed recently, I went out to hear from the community at Speed who have actually been without a police officer for many, many, many months's a really good illustration of what happens when you take those police officers who are very often, more often than not, the backbone of these small towns," Benham said.

"We've got more single man police station police in the Mildura electorate, which is 37,000 kms, we've got more in our electorate than anywhere else in the state, so this could be quite disastrous for us.

"The communities, obviously, you know, they love their police, I can think of many, many towns that, you know, they're absolute pillars of the community."

Benham went on to emphasise that rural crime is more of an issue now than it has been in previous years and that the proposal comes at the worst time for country communities seeking safety.

"Crimes that have gone up, police are under-resourced, it is hard to recruit, particularly post-COVID, there was a lot of people, you know, leaving the force and it's been hard to recruit since," Benham said.

"It's disastrous on many levels and this has come from all this information that this [proposal] is being worked on at the moment.

"They're taking them [Police] out of the country and putting them in larger regional centres all back in the city, which again, it's city-centric thinking from the government that doesn't think, who regards regional Victoria [as] Ballarat and Geelong and it's just not good enough."


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