11 December 2023

$30 million towers unveiled as police rejig new Goulburn station

| John Thistleton
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police recruits

Probationary constables Mary Betell from Port Stephens, who has been appointed to Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Lane Cove’s Lauren Pauley, who has been appointed to Chatswood, and Kyle Hutchins of Campbelltown, who has also been appointed to the eastern suburbs, after Friday’s attestation parade in Goulburn. Photos: John Thistleton.

Accommodation worth $30 million for a “world-class” NSW Police Academy opened on Friday but a new Goulburn police station in the same location will fall short of what was planned.

Goulburn’s $25 million police station was due to be completed this year, but fresh tenders will be called for a redesigned station because of a blowout in building costs.

Politicians turned the first sod on the new station at the academy in October 2021 when the government announced a replacement for the old station in Sloane Street.

Attending the opening of accommodation for 180 trainee police constables on Friday, Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the Government had not yet signed off on revised plans for the new station.

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“There had to be a readjustment due to excessive costs coming in when the tender was put out, so there has been some rejigging on the plans,” she said.

The cost of doing business had risen extraordinarily, inflation had struck numerous projects and the new police station was one of them, Ms Tuckerman said.

“I have been assured we are getting closer to sign-off and once that happens, it’ll be started,” she said.

Ms Tuckerman said although $25 million was a lot of money, it did not cover what was needed, due to the increase in costs.

“I think they are looking at a significant shortfall and so are having to re-do the plans.”

Ms Tuckerman remains unsure of what will happen to the existing police station in Sloane Street when the new one is completed.

“That will be a decision for the police in regards to what they are going to do with that property and we will have to just wait and see.”

official opening of police accommodation

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb and Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley unveil the new accommodation at the NSW Police Academy in Goulburn.

Bidding for the revised tender will be Richard Crookes Constructions, the principal contractor on the three new accommodation towers at the academy. Its ACT general manager Richard Brown said they had had to battle the changing costs and worker shortages over the 13 months of the project.

“Every day the team was doing the rounds with all the subcontractors, keeping that pressure up to make sure we maintained productivity,” Mr Brown said.

He said Richard Crookes had a lot of leverage with subcontractors, enabling the firm to keep up the numbers needed on site.

The heat was also turned up on 179 probationary constables who stood on a scorching parade ground on Friday during an attestation ceremony preceding the opening of the new accommodation.

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One of them, forensic scientist from Lane Cove Lauren Pauley, said the toughest part of her four months in Goulburn had been being away from her family.

“For a lot of us here, it’s our first time away from home. That goes for me as well, but we get to go home on the weekends,” she said. “There’s some fun aspects like the weapons training and the physical fitness. Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was a completely new experience.” She will be stationed at Chatswood.

At the opening of the new accommodation, Commissioner Karen Webb said she could not remember such a big investment in new facilities.

“In the days when I was in the academy, we had the towers where you had to share a bathroom,” Commissioner Webb said.

police graduation ceremony

Comprising recruits aged 19 to 49, Class 360 celebrates completion of the constable education program at the NSW Police Academy on Friday. They were the first class at the academy to be paid while training.

“In these facilities, they have their own room and own bathroom, and it is a modern, fit-for-purpose facility to attract new people to this great, world-class organisation and world-class training facility.”

Commissioner Webb said it was important to offer the best facilities for recruits.

“Hopefully it feels like a home away from home,” she said.

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It is good to see the smiling faces of our new police. But from personal experience, I am certain it will not take too long for those smiles to disappear.

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