Kokoda Trek unforgettable
I have just returned from 8 days spent in the jungle mountains of Papua New Guinea with an even higher regard for our heroic Australian soldiers who in 1942, although vastly outnumbered, fought hard — and died — defending their country and their beliefs.
Taking part in the Police Legacy Kokoda Trek was an unforgettable experience, and one I am proud to have participated in. Accompanying me on the trek were David Rixon’s two oldest sons: Scott and Matt. They both did a great job and I think the opportunity to walk the Kokoda track with a group of fellow legatees, police and emergency service workers was a very healing experience for them.
As part of the trek, I set myself a target to raise money for Police Legacy and I thank all for their generous contributions to “our charity”. In recent times Police Legacy has been called on all too often to look after the loved ones of deceased police officers.
The quiet courage and stoicism Scott and Matt displayed whilst on the trek reminded me of the many sacrifices our families make to support police on the frontline who work so hard to keep the community safe.
The operational demands of police work place a huge strain on families and particularly our female members who, for years, have been desperately seeking access to affordable childcare outside the 9 to 5 norm.
That is why I am so pleased the Federal Government will be launching a pilot programme of flexible child care options for Police, nurses and paramedics. It means that weekend and overnight care will be available for our members around their shiftwork.
We have been working hard together with the Police Federation of Australia on this important issue and will keep you updated as it progresses.
Curbing alcohol abuse among young people
Alcohol-related violence continues to plague our frontline and unfortunately our young people see it as their drug of choice. On 29 April the Police Association attended a NS W parliamentary inquiry into strategies to reduce alcohol abuse among young people. This follows on from our extensive submission to the inquiry in March.
Our submission shows that alcohol is a key factor in the three leading causes of death among adolescents: unintentional injury, homicide and suicide. Twenty-two percent of all hospitalisations of young people aged 15–24 are alcohol related.
We told the Standing Committee on Social Issues inquiry that there is a silver bullet to the problem of alcohol abuse among young people.
The Newcastle model of reduced trading hours to 3:30am, limits to the sale of high-alcohol content drinks, and lockouts after 1:30 am works, and should be rolled out across the state. Doctors, paramedics, nurses, social workers and community groups all back this approach.
They see the carnage every week and the long term impact alcohol-fuelled violence has on promising young lives.
Time and again we have seen governments roll out alcohol education campaigns that clearly don’t work.
Young people often think they’re bullet proof and need to be protected from themselves. We will not be letting up on our campaign for reduced trading hours, based on the Newcastle model, to be introduced state-wide.
Death of a veteran police officer
On Thursday 2 May serving and retired police and members of the community turned out in their thousands at the Newcastle City Hall to show their respects and bid farewell to our mate Senior
Constable Tony Tamplin.
Sadly Tony collapsed on 29 April soon after commencing his shift at Waratah police station, and despite the best efforts of his colleagues and paramedics could not be revived.
Tony was a colourful character who served his community for 35 years as a NS W Police officer. He was a popular member of the Hunter community and involved himself in numerous fundraising efforts such as the annual Variety Bash.
Tony’s death leaves a massive void that cannot be filled. As a police officer and a man he was cherished by all who met him, police and the community alike. Once again Police Legacy will be called on to help another police family through tough and difficult times. Our thoughts go out to Tony’s wife, Sonia, and their six children at this sad time.
Finally, I welcome on board Craig Partridge who served as Executive Member for the Central Met Region from May 2011 to May 2013. Craig has successfully won the job of a field services officer for the Non LAC/Specialist team and I expect his experience on the Executive will enable him to continue serving the members.