Minister Denies Hunter Police LAC Merger

Hunter MP Michael Johnsen's claims of a merger or closure of Hunter Police LAC were denied by the Police Minister during Budget Estimates hearings on Thursday.

 John Preston

Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party Hunter region spokesman John Preston celebrated a win for the Hunter region after his party secured a public denial of Police Local Area Command (LAC) mergers from the Minister of Police during Budget Estimates on Thursday.

This flies in the face of a media campaign by Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen.

“It appears that National Party MP Michael Johnsen is not just the last person to find out about the proposed forced amalgamation of the Hunter Valley Police Local Area Command, but he’s also got the wrong information,” Mr Preston said.

“As soon as I heard this worrying news about local policing, I contacted my Upper House Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party colleagues immediately. On Thursday they directly confronted Police Minister Troy Grant in Budget Estimates hearings.

“Minister Grant smacked-down his Upper Hunter colleague's claims, saying that media reports reporting that this LAC is being disbanded or amalgamated were incorrect, and that it indeed is not happening at all.

“Michael Johnsen has just outed himself as an ineffective Local Member of Parliament.

“Not only is he running online campaigns on this issue when the Minister says it’s not happening, but he has clearly failed in the most basic skill of an MP: to pick up the phone and lobby the Minister for a better deal.

“I don’t even hold elected office and I have secured a faster result than Michael Johnsen by getting the issues of the Hunter region heard in Macquarie Street.

“Clearly, we deserve better.”

John Preston is also the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party candidate for Ward A in the September 9 Dungog Shire Council election.

Download John Preston's press release here.