CORONER COULD AID ISLANDS IN BID FOR MORE POLICE!
Everyone who knows anything about the Bay Islands, knows that more Police are needed.
In a perfect world, both Macleay and Russell Islands should be four-man police stations; and an additional police officer should be made available to police Lamb and Karragarra Islands.
Well, it is not a perfect world and all efforts and pleas to have additional police made available, have fallen on deaf ears.
It is not up to Government to work out police logistics and manpower; it is up to the Queensland Commissioner of Police.
He has been unmoved; until now!
Queensland Coroner John Hutton recently produced a Coroner’s Report into the death of Russell Island 14-year-old Ethan Stephenson, who was killed when hit by a car on Centre Road, Russell Island on June 7, 2014.
During the process of the coronial hearing, it was revealed that the Russell Island Police Station is vastly undermanned.
In giving evidence to the hearing, former station Sergeant Graham Staib stated the Russell Island station needed to have four police officers to be effective.
Sergeant Staib explained that his attendance to calls for service diminished his ability to conduct enforcement activities on the Island. The then officer in charge at Russell Island recommended to the Coroner that there should be four permanent police officers (one Sergeant and three Constables) stationed at Russell Island.
Mr Hutton in his coronial report said: “The Sergeant ‘Officer in Charge’ and Senior Constable residing on the island are required to be available 24 hours, 7 days per week, to provide ready accessibility to policing services for the community. Outside their rostered duty hours, one officer remains on call to ensure capacity to provide first response. Surrounding stations provide additional first response capacity.”
The case for additional police on our islands was further enhanced when Acting Superintendent Huxley acknowledged that the most significant issue for policing on Russell Island was ‘fatigue management’ due to the high call out of the officers (approximately 100 instances per annum).
The Coroner also compared police numbers on Russell Island to those on North Stradbroke Island.
He referred to evidence given by Superintendent Huxley who had stated to the hearing that the allocation of policing resources is ‘not based on a police-to-population ratio’.
The superintendent then admitted calls for service, demographics, availability of other resources and the population numbers are all considerations in allocation of resources and that a review of policing on all the Bay islands was currently being undertaken’.
Supt Huxley also told the hearing : “The comparison with the policing resources on North Stradbroke Island (Dunwich Police Division) is not ‘like for like’ because Dunwich Police has a significant holiday and transient base, together with a large employer and culturally significant challenges. It has higher calls for service and higher overall crime and offending levels’.
The Coroner’s Report could be the impetus needed for both Russell and Macleay Islands to be manned by four police each.
Let’s hope his findings are part of the police ‘review’ that is currently underway, and something positive comes from an island tragedy.
TIME N TIDE
SO YOU WANT TO VOTE ON THE SAME SEX PLEBISCITE?
If you want to vote on the same sex plebiscite, all you have to know is that your are on the electoral roll. Australians were given just 14 days to make sure they were on the electoral roll with that time running out on August 24. The plebesite will be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The ABS will run the process with ballot papers going to every enrolled Australian from next month, to be returned by November 7 and a result on November 25. There will be a chance for Parliament to vote later this year, but there is no guarantee that will happen and MPs will not be bound by the result of the postal survey.
DAY OUT IN PARADISE
Our group of islands received a significant boost thanks to the Courier Mail’s weekend magazine recently when they featured A Day Out in Paradise. It encouraged readers to get on their bikes and discover the Hidden Gems on Brisbane’s door step. All of our islands got a boost, and our ferries noticed a significant increase particularly in bike traffic in recent days; great stuff!
OBITUARIES RE THE PASSING OF ISLAND RESIDENTS
We have had a few requests in recent times about detailing obituaries of island residents who have recently died. The Friendly Bay Islander is happy to make available space to outline the life and information about islanders who have died. It is opportune, particularly considering the recent completion of the new Memorial Gardens on Russell Island. There is a similar facility on Macleay Island at the Church of the Holy Spirit. If you wish to submit an obituary email approximately 200 words to: thebayislander@bigpond,com
TRANSLINK SLAP IN THE FACE
It was interesting attending the ‘official opening’ of the new Translink bus station at Redland Bay Marina. It was opened by Assistant Minister for Transport Glenn Butcher. Also attending was the Labor candidate for the seat of Redlands, and a host of Translink boffins. Noticeably absent was the Member for Redlands, Matt McEachan, and any representatives from Redland City Council. Even though it was a State Government project, the council was dragged into it when all the equipment and buildings were lobbed onto the site, and there was a drastic drop in car parking spaces. Council reacted quickly and built a new car park in the area previously taken by a large pond at considerable expense. Matt McEachan, as the local member, received literally hundreds of complaints about the process: some reasonable; some not so reasonable. It has been political protocol for generations that when a public amenity is opened or a Government ceremony is being held, that the local Member of Parliament is involved and invited, no matter which side of politics is in power. Matt McEachan did not get an invitation; nor did Cr Mark Edwards. Definitely not the done thing!