Chris Gulaptis, Nationals candidate for Clarence.
Chris Gulaptis, Nationals candidate for Clarence.

Gallacher is 'hiding': Robertson

LEADER of the NSW Opposition John Robertson accused Police Minister Michael Gallacher of "hiding in Sydney" and failing to listen to the concerns of the Clarence electorate.

Mr Robertson touched down in Casino yesterday to voice his support for Country Labor Clarence candidate Peter Ellem's petition for a 24-hour police station in the regional town.

He took the opportunity to highlight Mr Gallacher's obvious absence from Clarence despite being in Government for seven months and being five days out from a by-election.

"It has been seven months and that is unacceptable," he said.

But seven months was nothing compared to 16 years under Labor leadership, Nationals Clarence candidate Chris Gulaptis retorted.

"There is a big hide in someone to say seven months when we have been waiting 16 years under Labor leadership," Mr Gulaptis said.

"(Police) have been stacked up in the safe Labor seats of south-west Sydney for 16 years and that's why (police) are low in this area.

"The Police Minister knows full well of the situation here, he has been told by the former member, the community and me."

It was not a matter of the Police Minister making "a 24-hour visit" to the electorate but was about getting more police, Mr Gulaptis said.

In the Casino CBD yesterday, Mr Robertson strongly supported Mr Ellem's campaign for increased police across the historically under-resourced commands.

But the support for extra police in the town came after Labor was accused of allocating police to safe Labor seats while in power and starving regional NSW of the resources it needed.

While he did "not believe that", Mr Robertson promised things would be "different" now he was the Opposition leader.

"What Peter (Ellem) is doing is campaigning for something that is important in the local community and that is something I want to see - candidates who are prepared to speak out on issues that are important in the local area," he said.

Mr Ellem said a 24-hour police station was the hottest issue in Casino.

"The community of Casino want to get back to the day when people could walk the streets and not feel afraid of assaults and be secure in their own homes and not have their cars and property stolen."

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