Economy to cop whack

SCHOOL’S OUT: There will be no new cadets training on campus at the NSW Police Academy until January next year, with the State Government scrapping its August intake.Follow @TomSebo1
Nanjing Night Net

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THE local economy will take a whack in the next six months following the State Government’s announcement there would be no new police cadets training on campus in Goulburn until January next year.

A spokesperson for Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher said the decision was due to an increase in staff retention rates. He stressed that it was not a budget cut and that recruitment was based upon supply and demand to meet its authorised strengths.

The government says it is still committed to increasing the number of officers to 16,665 by August 2015, an election promise, but that it will be a measured delivery.

Chamber of Commerce president Rob Walker said the decision would have an impact on local retailers, especially those in the service industry.

“The food industry will be affected more so than anyone else,” he said.

“A lot of the recruits make a point of going out for dinner in town because it is a nice break for them and the clubs will be affected too…if you remove that many people away from Goulburn in one hit it will hurt.”

While Mr Walker was disappointed by the decision, he understood why it was made.

“(The government) is a business after all and they need to run it like a business,” he said. If the State had the necessary number of officers, there wasn’t much anyone could do about it. However, Mr Walker hoped in the future the police force would have more even intakes instead of just skipping one altogether.

Member for Goulburn Pru Goward told the Post the government’s decision was “disappointing” but that she understood it all the same.

“Obviously (the Police College students) have become an important part of the local economy and there will be a disappointment but what can you do?” she said.

Ms Goward said the police force only needed as many officers as it needed and while there would be a negative impact locally, on a state level, increased retention rates were a good thing. She said it was costly to train new recruits and that on the job experience was invaluable.

“It’s all swings and roundabouts,” she said.

Ms Goward believed the strength of the local tourism industry would help retailers make up some of the immediate shortfall.

She also pointed out that 10 new local jobs had been created within her portfolio in the form of Community Services case workers.

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