BALLARAT railway station will be among the first regional stations to receive Protective Services Officers tomorrow, partially delivering on a Coalition election promise.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells will announce today that PSOs will begin patrolling Ballarat railway station tomorrow.
However, Wendouree will not receive PSOs despite an election confirmation made by Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder in 2011.
“Today’s announcement is a major investment in community safety for regional Victoria and part of the Victorian Coalition government’s commitment to building a better and safer Victoria,” Mr Wells said.
Mr Wells said the Coalition government was on track to deploy 940 PSOs to metropolitan and regional rail stations by November, having already recruited 702 PSOs.
Teenage V/Line commuter Sam Cunnington said PSOs had been needed at Ballarat’s stations for some time.
“I think Wendouree would be a problem when trains are running. The sort of people that hang around the stations area aren’t necessarily of a great kind,” Mr Cunnington said.
Occasional commuter Tim Reinders said the introduction of PSOs to regional stations was unnecessary.
“I don’t see it as much of a benefit. You don’t hear about issues on regional lines. They would be of more value to the Melbourne stations,” Mr Reinders said.
A spokesperson for Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells confirmed there were no plans to install PSOs at Wendouree station.
“Our election commitment was to install PSOs at the four major regional centres; Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon and Geelong,” the spokesperson said yesterday.
Ballarat West Labor MP Sharon Knight said the state government had made a very clear commitment before the last election that PSOs would be in place at Ballarat and Wendouree train stations to walk people to their cars at night.
“That’s a broken election promise. It’s very clear that they have made this commitment and it should be honoured,” she said.
“It’s appalling that the Liberal-National government think that the Wendouree community will forget the commitments made to them.
“They should stop treating this community with contempt and own up to the fact that they have failed to deliver – on so many counts.”
In 2011, Mr Mulder said the Coalition government planned to deploy PSOs at Wendouree Station.
“Commuters will have peace of mind knowing they can get back to Wendouree late at night and the station precinct will be protected,” Mr Mulder said.
V/Line staff at Ballarat railway station did not wish to comment.