Posted on 02. May, 2012 in News
The State Budget revealed more bad news for the Baillieu Government’s troubled Protective Services Officer (PSO) program, with a further cost blow out forecast, Acting Shadow Minister for Police James Merlino said. Mr Merlino said the rollout of 940 PSOs was over budget, over time and was now a huge embarrassment for the Baillieu Government.
“The Budget confirms that the PSO shambles is now out of control, with even more funding being pumped into righting this policy,” Mr Merlino said.
“The Budget has allocated an additional $56.4 million for capital works at various police stations to accommodate additional police and PSOs. The Department of Transport budget delivers a further $17.7 million to provide facilities, such as toilets, at train stations, for PSOs.
“This program was originally costed at $161.5 million, but then blew out by more $85 million last year. There appears to be no limit to how much the government expects tax payers to pay for their botched election promise.”
Mr Merlino said, while Ted Baillieu expected Victorians to tighten their belts and endure savage cuts to basic education and healthcare, taxpayers were being forced to pay for his government’s mismanagement.
“While the budget for rolling out PSOs is blowing out massively the Baillieu Government has failed to deliver two new promised police stations for Sale and Somerville,” Mr Merlino said.
“The government seems set to fail on its promise to upgrade or build 250 CFA stations by the next election with a massive reduction in funding allocated this year’s Budget.
“Likewise, capital investment in metropolitan fire stations has seen similar reductions.
Shadow Corrections Minister Jill Hennessy said the State Budget delivered a paltry $1.7 milllion to upgrade the high security facility at Barwon Prison.
“The Ombudsman’s Report into Carl Williams’ death recommended an overhaul of Barwon Prison’s security systems but any expert will tell you, $1.7 million won’t fix the problem.” Ms Hennessy said.
“The government must explain how spending $820 million on building new prison beds will make Victoria safer and guarantee the system will cope with the immediate demand brought about by the government’s changes to sentencing laws.”