Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has visited St Marys Police Station this morning to announce his party’s policy on reducing gun crime.
The visit came after a house in Cranebrook was shot at a number of times at about 11.40pm last night.
Mr Abbott was joined by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher, Federal Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection Michael Keenan, and Federal candidate for Lindsay, Fiona Scott, for a meeting at the local police station.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Abbott said the Commonwealth Government needs to play a greater role in reducing gun crime.
“I regret to say that the current Government in losing control of our boarders has not only failed to stop the boats but has failed to stop the guns as well,” he said.
“Under the former Coalition Government over 60 per cent of incoming air cargoes were screened, it is down to some 10 per cent, because of some $60 million in cuts to the customs budget and some hundreds of personnel that have gone from our customs service.”
Mr Abbott said there are three key elements of the Coalition’s plan to help reduce gun crime.
“First of all we will put $100 million more into customs, particularly customs screening,” he said.
“Secondly, we will ensure that the illegal importation of guns will attract a minimum mandatory five year sentence. And thirdly we will work with the States and Territories to ensure that we have local gang squads because it is very important that the fight against organised crime is as flexible and responsive as the criminals themselves.”
Mr O’Farrell welcomed the announcement, saying that NSW police are seizing guns off the streets every week, “but as fast as they take those guns, more are coming into this country”.
“These measures are terrific. More than 90 per cent of all drive by shootings (in NSW) involve handguns… and 100 per cent of handguns are imported into this country. So reversing Labor’s cuts to customs, to the Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission, will go along way to stopping gun importation into this country.”
The Coalition says it will also implement a $50 million Safer Streets programe, which will provide local grants for measures such as increased CCTV surveillance and better lighting in streets, parks and community areas.