| 08.07,09. 04:10 AM |
Police stations for sale in suburban crime hotspots
July 08, 2009 12:00am
THE State Government is offloading police stations in a fire sale of public land to fill dwindling coffers.
Nine police stations and another 200 buildings and parcels of land, including the Sydney Fish Market, are now under the control of the Government's real estate agent.
Residents of Rockdale, Malabar, Mosman, Berowra and Brooklyn are angry they are being robbed of their police stations despite 20 murders in five years across those areas.
The Police Association said yesterday Earlwood, Canterbury, Mt Victoria and Blackheath were also in the sights of a government desperate to sell $12 million worth of police stations.
Opposition finance spokesman Greg Pearce said it was the start of a massive $350 million sell-off of everything from schools and nursing homes to sports venues.
"People are always concerned about police stations going," he said.
"What they have here is cuts across the whole spectrum. When people realise what is being put on sale I think that will strike a chord as well."
He raised concerns over the State Property Authority - effectively the Government's real estate agent - acquiring 200 more properties from other departments, saying the move would make them easier to sell if the Government decides to do so.
Historic Strickland House, which has two beaches and overlooks the Harbour at Vaucluse, is one property with the authority.
The body - which last year sold 63 government buildings, built three and returned a dividend to the Government of $32.5 million - last night denied the buildings and carparks would be sold.
However there was no denying the sale of the police stations.
A group in Malabar called Save Our Station staged a rally on Sunday and collected 4400 signatures on a petition in a last-ditch bid to save their station.
Domestic attacks are up 7.4 per cent in the area, there have been 10 murders in five years and ecstasy possession has soared from 14 offences five years ago to 83 last year.
"We are currently dealing with vandalism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour. How can they sell this station?" group organiser Carlos Da Rocha said.
Paul Hannen, of the Police Association, said he expected the list of police stations being considered for sale to grow.
He said officers at Brooklyn, where the station will be auctioned this month, and Berowra were as upset as the community.
"The officers are not happy with the closure of Brooklyn," Mr Hannen said.