Echuca police are elated after learning about $14 million from the state Budget will be allocated towards building a new police station.TRENT HORNEMAN AND RENEE THOMPSON May 7, 2014 3:34am
Echuca police are the big winners in this year’s state Budget.
Police have wanted a new station for some time, with the number of officers outgrowing the existing Dickson St site, built in the 1969.
The new station will be built on the corner of Sturt and Anstruther streets, after the land was bought in February last year.
At the time, Member for Rodney Paul Weller said he would begin advocacy to obtain money for design and planning of the station, to be built on 4000sqm.
Yesterday, Treasurer Michael O’Brien delivered a $14.4 million windfall for the new station.
The government will pour $596,000 into planning in the next 12 months, with an expected price tag of $12.1 million for construction.
The government expects the new station to be built early in the 2016-17 financial year.
About 53 police work from the existing station, which houses general duties officers, a criminal investigation unit and highway patrol.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells said the new 24-hour Echuca police station would better serve the Campaspe region.
‘‘Critically, the new station will be able to also house specialist police units, which will boost the ability of police to control crime in the region,’’ Mr Wells said.
Senior Sergeant Mick Carroll of Echuca police said the funding was ‘‘great news’’.
‘‘The station we’re in is old and outdated and past its used by date really,’’ he said.
‘‘So we’re absolutely thrilled to be getting a new police station.
‘‘That’ll give us a facility with which we can service the community better and will help us to do a better job.’’
Sen. Sgt Carroll said he wanted to extend particular thanks to Member for Rodney Paul Weller.
‘‘He’s pushed it, so we really appreciate his help,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re really looking forward to getting into a new police station and pretty excited about.
‘‘We’ve had this site for a couple of years and we’ve just been waiting to get some funding for a station.
‘‘So with $14 million you can build a decent building with that.’’
Sen. Sgt Carroll said it was too early to comment on how many police officers the new facility might be able to house or any increase in officers as a result.
‘‘What will happen is we’ll get better holding rooms and cells and things like that,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t know what the plans will be but there’s plenty of room, so it’ll be a nice big modern facility, it’ll be great.’’
Mr Weller said he was pleasantly surprised at the funding for the police station.
‘‘This is one we have wanted for some time. The station has white ants and outgrown its life,’’ he said.
‘‘I was not confident it would get funded, but I am never confident of these things.
‘‘But since we received the land, I have been putting forward a good case to the minister.
‘‘We have been able to deliver funds to improve key community infrastructure in Echuca, including a new hospital and police station.’’
Committee for Echuca Moama chief executive Hayden Cock said funding for the new station ‘‘is very welcome and tremendous for Echuca’’.
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