MP CALLS FOR A DIRECT STRIKE AT CRIMINAL THUGS IN MOREE

Thursday, 23 November 2017

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall last night used the floor of State Parliament to throw down the gauntlet to a group of ‘brainless thugs and gutless mongrels’ who believe themselves to be ‘above the law’.

A recent trail of destruction and assaults in Moree have plagued the tight-knit community and the local MP is demanding stronger government responses including a dedicated police strike force to boost local police efforts and greater support from Family and Community Services (FaCS).

Speaking about the recent spike in crime in and around Moree, Mr Marshall said he stood with the community in fighting back.

“I am incredibly honoured to represent Moree and love the richness, the diversity and the tight-knit community that is Moree; it is, indeed, one of the jewels of the Northern Tablelands electorate,” Mr Marshall said.

“Over the past few months a group of what I can only describe as brainless thugs have been menacing the good people of Moree and committing offences, members of the community are frustrated and have had a gutful and so have I.

“On Sunday night the situation reached boiling point when a well-respected 79-year-old woman was attacked in her own home by a group of young cowards.

“Not only was her home broken into while she was there, but she was hit in the face with a brick by these gutless mongrels, suffering severe injuries and it was a miracle that she was not killed.

“Well, enough is enough – the rule of law must apply everywhere in this State, including in the beautiful community of Moree.”

The MP met with the Deputy Commissioner for Regional NSW Field Operations Gary Worboys APM yesterday, making a direct request for a police strike force team to be established and deployed to Moree immediately. The MP also sought an assurance that any such response would remain as long as is needed to root out the offenders.

“I was very impressed with the Deputy Commissioner’s depth of understanding and compassion for the issues confronting the community and I have the greatest confidence that he will take this request on board,” Mr Marshall said.

“There also needs to be greater support from other agencies such as community services and I have questioned the current FaCS staffing and resource levels in Moree.

“In collaboration with Moree Plains Shire Council (MPSC) and the Department of Justice, I am also working to implement the Family Investment Model (FIM) in Moree.

“This program enhances family relationships, working with families that may be experiencing difficulty to ensure their children respect the law, and are themselves respected in turn.

“Believe me, Moree is up for a fight and the losers will be the thugs who think they can rule the roost – they will soon realise they picked the wrong fight.”

The MP also commended the response by the Moree community including organisations like Miyay Birray and Moree Plains Shire Council which have been working proactively to shift community attitudes, discourage crime and assist NSW Police with prosecuting offenders.

The police have made a high number of arrests and laid many charges and the MP said a strong response by the NSW Government will buoy that community strength, and deliver quick and long-term benefits – not at least to those younger offenders who can be diverted from the slippery slope of thuggery and crime.

MOREE DISTRICT CRIME
Mr ADAM MARSHALL (Northern Tablelands – Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Assistant Minister for Skills) (20:30): Many times in this place I have extolled the virtues of a wonderful community in the Northern Tablelands—that of Moree and the people of Moree Plains Shire. It is a district and a community that I am incredibly honoured to represent in this place.

I certainly love the richness, the diversity and the tight-knit community that is Moree; it is, indeed, one of the jewels of the Northern Tablelands electorate. But it is with great sadness I speak about Moree tonight.

I will share in this place some news that I can longer remain silent about—news about some strife that, for my part, has taken the gloss off Moree in recent months, and it has to stop.

Tonight I inform the House of the actions over the past few months of a group of what I can only describe as brainless thugs—people who think they are above the law, who are menacing the good people of Moree and committing offences: stealing cars, quad bikes and motor bikes, breaking into local businesses, smashing windows and shopfronts in the main street of Balo Street, smashing up to 18 vehicles in the car park of Moree District Hospital and, as we saw over the weekend, starting to assault the senior citizens of that community.

Community leaders and members of the community are frustrated and have had a gutful, and so, as their local member, have I.

The situation reached boiling point over the weekend when I was in Moree. Residents in Moree woke to the news that a well-respected 79-year-old woman was attacked in her own home by a group of young people.

Not only was her home broken into while she was there, but she was hit in the face with a brick by these gutless mongrels.

She suffered severe injuries and it was a miracle that she was not killed. An amount of cash she had put aside to join her family on a holiday cruise was taken.

I am sickened by this incident and I take this opportunity to extend my deep regret for what happened to her and send my sincere best wishes for her speedy recovery.

Enough is enough. The rule of law must apply everywhere in this State, including in the beautiful community of Moree. These gutless mongrels must be found and they must pay the penalty.

In order that such a repulsive crime is not repeated and that those people are brought to justice, I have requested that police urgently review the resources that are available locally and that they implement the strongest possible response to tackle the recurring criminal offences in Moree.

Yesterday I met with the Deputy Commissioner of the NSW Police Force, Gary Worboys, APM, a man who I know commands the respect of every member of this House. He is as disgusted as I am with the events that have been occurring and escalating in Moree.

I met with him to request the putting together of a police strike force to supplement the efforts of the local police and to saturate that community for as long as is needed to root out these awful elements of the community—a very small minority who think they are above the law and have no regard for people’s property, space or liberties.

I was very impressed with the deputy commissioner’s depth of understanding and compassion for the issues confronting the community and I have the greatest confidence that he will take this request on board. I await an imminent response from him and from the NSW Police Force.

He has my full support and I know he and the actions that he will implement in that community will have the absolute full support of that community, from the mayor, Katrina Humphries, who is a tireless worker for that community, right through to the people who have been victims of these wanton criminal offences.

As a community, the good people of Moree cannot allow a small group of thugs—and that is exactly what they are—to take over our beautiful community. We must stand together.

Some people out there know who these people are and they know what is going on. I implore them to contact the police with information. I also implore the Department of Family and Community Services to step up to the mark in Moree and support the work of the police to ensure that we see these offenders caught and the community returned to peace and civility.

Mr GARETH WARD (Kiama) (20:35): The member for Northern Tablelands represents a vast electorate and there are many things he could have spoken about tonight, but he chose to bring the case of a number of victims of crime to this Chamber to ensure that they had a voice in this Parliament.

Not only has he eloquently articulated some of the egregious concerns that he rightly outlines in this Parliament but he has also implemented action as their local member to ensure that these atrocious acts are met with the strongest response from our police.

I commend the member for Northern Tablelands for being a passionate advocate and for wanting to ensure that those victims—in many cases elderly victims—have a voice in this Parliament and that their stories are told so that authorities at the highest level know that action is expected so that the rule of law is returned and implemented in Moree.

I commend him for being a strong local member, for being tough on crime and for ensuring that those who have been victims have a voice and an advocate, which they certainly do in the member for Northern Tablelands.

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