The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: My question without notice is to the Minister for Police. Did the Minister announce last week that he was against the Government's plan to close as many as nine police stations in the inner metropolitan area of Sydney? Did the Minister also tell the Newcastle Herald this week that he could not rule out the merger of the Newcastle and Waratah local area commands, even though this would result in the closure of Newcastle police station? Will the Minister guarantee that under Labor and as the Minister responsible for this portfolio, there will not be one rule for the eastern suburbs of Sydney and another for the people of Newcastle?
The Hon. Charlie Lynn: You are allowed to answer today.
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: I am allowed to answer every day.
The Hon. Michael Egan: Only if the question is in order. If the question is not in order, I will take a point of order.
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: What if the question is silly?
The Hon. Michael Egan: A silly question is all right, as long as it is in order.
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: Last week I certainly did announce a decision not to proceed with the merger of the local area commands in the city east region. I made that decision after consultation with local police officers, the community and the Commissioner of Police, based upon the Government's commitment to ensuring that front-line, visible policing is the priority for local community policing. That was an important decision, and a decision that I take great pride in having made. I have not made any decisions about Newcastle. I am not aware of the matter that the Leader of the Opposition refers to. I indicated that the proposal for a super local area command in that area was on hold. I will certainly have a look at the Newcastle Herald and get back to the honourable member.