TAMWORTH Shooters Farmers and Fishers candidate Jeff Bacon has slammed Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson for failing to sign a petition for 25 more police members in the region.
The NSW Police Association petition was launched in Tamworth on Thursday with members seeking public support for the push for more members.
However Mr Anderson’s absence from the event has drawn criticisim from his political rival.
“Kevin Anderson has just been outed as all talk and not action when it comes to rural crime and increasing local police numbers,” Mr Bacon said.
“After publishing details in local media, the police association waited in Fitzroy Street in Tamworth – 30 metres from Kevin Anderson’s office – for him to sign their petition, but our local National Party member of parliament was nowhere to be seen.
“Mr Anderson had plenty of notice, and if he had another engagement he could have easily picked up the phone and organised to sign the petition earlier.”
Mr Anderson said he supported the police association and was working hard to deliver more officers to the region.
“I think it goes without saying that I support our police every day of the week,” Mr Anderson said.
“I have had several conversations with the commander of the Oxley Police District about pushing for more officers for the region and that is what I will continue to do.
“The petition is a community petition and rest assured I will continue to push for more police officers for our region in parliament.”
Mr Bacon said the shortage of police officers in rural areas was related to the construction of new sporting stadiums in Sydney.
“The truth is that the Nationals Party are cutting back services in rural areas so that their Liberal Party bosses can have a surplus to build new Sydney stadiums,” he said.
“I’m concerned that Kevin Anderson’s refusal to publicly back the Police Association’s campaign for more boots on the ground in Tamworth means he knows that we can’t expect to receive more Police.
“Otherwise, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t put his name to a petition improving services in his electorate.
“As I speak to people in our electorate, I keep hearing that everybody is tired of Mr Anderson letting our region come off second best because he has to keep the city Liberals happy.
“It’s time we had a change, Tamworth deserves better.”
The Back the Blue petition will be taken to the state government in the coming weeks.