Imbil Police Officer Bill Greer. Queensland Parliament has heard population growth in the Mary Valley means more police officers and a bigger station are needed at Imbil.
Imbil Police Officer Bill Greer. Queensland Parliament has heard population growth in the Mary Valley means more police officers and a bigger station are needed at Imbil.

Push on for more police, bigger station in the Mary Valley

Gympie MP Tony Perrett has called on Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan to increase the police presence in the Mary Valley in line with its growing population.

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Mr Perrett made the call during a speech to Parliament last week centred on the region’s growth and the necessity to ensure services and infrastructure keep up with that growth.

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As the mood for a “tree change”, heightened by the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, continues to sweep the nation the population of the Gympie region is surging and property is booming.

“The Mary Valley is a growing region,” Mr Perrett said yesterday. “Its increasing popularity has seen people moving in, significant investment, and crowds of tourists visiting the region.

“According to the 2016 census the local population has grown to almost 6500 and even more if you count visitors and tourists.

“While there are two police officers stationed at Imbil Police Station there are long periods of time when only one is operating there.

Member for Gympie Tony Perrett. Picture: Shane Zahner
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett. Picture: Shane Zahner

“It has a good Neighbourhood Watch program, the Imbil Rural Watch, which has strong connections and liaison with the police and the community.

“However, we need to be ahead of the game instead of playing catch-up.

“I’ve raised this in Parliament this week and asked the Police Minister a Question on Notice on when will additional police personnel be provided at Imbil police station. *

“The strategies to attract people to come to and visit the Mary Valley have meant there are more than 500 properties in the area which have gone back into private ownership.

“They’ve been bought back from the State Government after the failed Traveston dam project.

“It’s busy all the time, not just on weekends. Even on weekdays it’s crawling with people.”

Mr Perrett said the population of the Valley expanded even more during holiday and peak tourist season, with attractions and events such as the Borumba Dam, Gympie Music Muster, Mitchell Creek Rock ‘N Blues Fest.

“We need to make sure police have enough resources and staff,” he said.

“You put the community first when you provide the police the resources, including full time frontline staff, and the laws they need to fight crime.”