The state government has been accused of wasting taxpayers money with its decision to site a new $1.5 million police station on a block of land on the main road near the Lemon Tree Passage library.
Resident Geoff Walker said that the community had for many years been pushing for a new police station to be sited next to the ambulance and bushfire stations in RAF Park, Tanilba Bay.
MLC Taylor Martin responded by saying that the substantial investment in Tilligerry would ensure the Port Stephens-Hunter Police District had a state-of-the-art facility to continue serving the community.
"This new facility on Meredith Avenue would replace the existing leased premises in Cook Road and help our police better serve the local area and continue to drive down crime," Mr Martin said.
Mr Walker said the Tilligerry community was both puzzled and angered by this decision.
"Port Stephens Council has offered them the land for free yet the police have purchased a house in Lemon Tree Passage. The cost of this plus demolition and on-site preparation is estimated at $500,000 out of a total budget of $1.5m," he said.
"We want to save the taxpayer half a million dollars and to build us a station we are proud of - not like the little dog box they erected at Tea Gardens."
Another longtime resident and 50-year campaigner for a station, Doreen Bradley, said that "we have had politicians, the police minister and numerous meetings about this and RAF Park at Tanilba Bay is where it was agreed it was to be built".
"There seems to have been no community consultation and a total breakdown of process somewhere within the system," she added.
Mr Walker said that in addition to the RAF Park land being free, it was flat and a 'walk-up start' as far as construction goes.
In a visit to the area on June 25, Police Minister David Elliott said that the new station at Lemon Tree Passage - similar to facilities constructed at Karuah and Tea Gardens - was part of the $15.9 million Regional Small Police Station program.
"The NSW Government continues to deliver on its commitment to invest in policing infrastructure."