Ross Vasta MP

Federal Member for Bonner

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Speeches in Parliament

PMB: NATIONAL POLICE REMEMBRANCE DAY

Monday, 4 September 2017

I want to thank the honourable member for Fowler for moving this motion today to recognise the upcoming National Police Remembrance Day. I've been moved by the speeches already given on this very important day and I appreciate the opportunity to share the vital work police officers are doing in my electorate. I would also like to talk about my own experiences, seeing firsthand the difference that local police make every day.

I would first like to acknowledge Senior Constable Brett Forte of the Queensland Police Service who was so senselessly and tragically taken from us earlier this year. It was a stark reminder of the very real risk that police officers face while on the job. The outpouring of love and support from the community in the aftermath of this tragedy has been heartening. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Last month the Queensland Police Service Rugby League Association hosted a charity rugby league game in my electorate to raise funds for the Brett Forte Remembrance Fund. There was a great turnout by the public. This event's success is just one of the examples of the strong support my constituents have for our local police, and deservedly so.

In life before politics I was a small business owner, and I enjoyed a close relationship with local law enforcement. There was no issue that they couldn't help me with. To this day I've been fortunate to maintain this good relationship. I can't speak highly enough about the great help they've been in addressing local crime and safety concerns for my constituents. Just recently, a number of my constituents had contacted me, worried about crime in the electorate—particularly in the Gumdale-Wakerley area. I conducted a community safety survey to find out more, and the results showed that the main issues of concern were break-and-enters and hooning. I set up a meeting with Acting Inspector Mark Norrish and Acting Senior Sergeant Carolyn Cox from the Wynnum-Manly police service to discuss these concerns. I then hosted a 'coffee with a cop' in Manly West to give residents the opportunity to get to know their local police officers, to discuss with them their experiences with crime and to seek advice on protecting their homes and properties from lawbreakers.

It's been a pleasure working with local police on this pressing local issue, and I continue to be impressed by the genuine care that they put into their work. I look forward to working more with law enforcement in my electorate to improve safety in the community. Mark Norrish, especially, is doing an outstanding job.

On a side note, I want to thank the state member for Chatsworth, the Hon. Steve Minnikin, for also taking up the issue of crime and safety in the Gumdale and Wakerley area. It was great to attend his crime forum last week alongside hardworking members of the Wynnum/Manly district crime prevention unit. I've heard some eye-opening stories from local police over the years. My sister Pauline works in police intelligence and my brother-in-law Scott is a detective, while my brother and father were prosecutors. They have given me insight into the dangers police officers encounter every day. It is very important to recognise their sacrifices. I'm proud that we have set aside a day to observe the work of our nation's officers and to honour those who have been killed in the line of duty. I'm proud to support our local police, and I must say that they are doing a terrific job under very, very difficult circumstances.
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