Lemon Tree Passage police will move from its cramped Cook Parade quarters into a brand new $1.5 million station in the next three years.
Consultation in selecting a new site for the Port police station is already underway, NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said, with community engagement planned to run during the coming months.
“The police station that exists here now is part of a leased private building that we've been very appreciative to have access to service this community but, simply, the expansion in police responses, demands and ability to house police equipment, this building is no longer suitable for that purpose,” Mr Grant said outside the station on Monday.
“We need our police to have the best stations to operate from to respond as efficiently and effectively as possible but also to house the technology and police equipment that helps the prevent and solve crime to the best of their ability.”
Mr Grant said a new site for the Tilligerry Peninsula’s sole police station, currently manned by two officers, is required as the current location does not allow for the expansion and modernisation of the existing building.
He guaranteed, however, that the station will remain in Lemon Tree Passage.
The $1.5 million in funding has been “allocated and secured”, Mr Grant said, and will be rolled out in the three years.
Lemon Tree Passage is the third town within the Port Stephens-Hunter Police District behind Tea Gardens and Karuah that will receive a new or upgraded station.
District commander Superintendent Craig Jackson said it was “fantastic” that Lemon Tree Passage had been flagged for a new station.
“It’s good to see the smaller stations are being looked after a little bit more,” he said. “Police are staying in the Lemon Tree Passage area. Nothing is going to change. The old station has been here for some time now. It is borderline fit for purpose.
“A new police station will help make our job more efficient.”
Jaimie Abbott, the Liberal state election candidate for Port Stephens, joined Mr Grant and Superintendent Jackson in Lemon Tree Passage for the station announcement on Monday morning.
She said Lemon Tree Passage might be a small community, but they deserve a modern and “fit-for-purpose police station” to ensure it remains safe.
“This is very welcome news,” she said. “Our local officers deserve the very best resources and equipment to do their job, and keep the community safe.
“Once built, the new station will ensure local officers have a contemporary base to work out of now and into the future.
“I think it's fantastic that the community will have a say in where the new station will go.”