By Jen Gourley
The Biloela community and surrounding district were given a special present today, a present that can be found at 60 Grevillea Street. It’s not hard to miss – it’s the very new and very impressive Biloela Police Station.
At the official opening of the state-of-the-art facility today, Assistant Commissioner Kev Guteridge, Central Region, warmly told Mayor Nev Ferrier, “I’d rather people think of this not as the Biloela Police Station, or a government building in the middle of town – this is a gift to the community of Biloela and a gift to the entire Banana Shire. Because this isn’t only to support the operations of policing in Biloela, there’s the towns of Moura, Banana, Theodore and all those around here as well that rely on being able to get things done. So this is a critical community asset.”
The original Biloela police station was built on the same site in Grevillea Street back in the early 1900s and, according to guest speakers at today’s opening, the old building had quite a reputation.
“I did hear stories about the old police station,” Commissioner Katarina Carroll said with a smile. “Apparently it had a lot of character but didn’t have much more than that. Floorboards being unbalanced, people falling through and the list goes on. It was quite aged.”
She said that police stations have improved over the years and the new Biloela Police Station is “a tremendous police station – operationally fit for purpose, but also takes into account the welfare of our people”.
Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services the Honourable Mark Ryan MP, who also spoke at the opening, personally remembered the challenges of the old building with its curvy hallways and rickety old floorboards before it was demolished.
“It is important to celebrate these milestones because you don’t get new police stations in town too often and Biloela’s a perfect example of that. In the last 100 years, we’re only celebrating the second police station here in Biloela. And I think a lot of people have stories about that old station. I remember being here a couple of years ago, with Deputy Commissioner Paul Taylor, for those people who know him. Sometimes Paul and I had to be on equal sides of the hallway to make sure that we didn’t tip it one way or the other.”
Minister Ryan called the new facility ‘a good addition to the town’ and a welcome boost for policing in Biloela.
“Biloela Police Station has been designed with all the features and specifications needed for a modern policing facility, and comfortably accommodates the current staffing level with an eye to the future,” he said.
“It’s another example of how diverse the Queensland Police Service’s role is because it’s not just geographically diverse. It is the full spectrum of engagement with community, from law enforcement to essentially doing those social roles of intervening and referring people to support services,” he said.
Costing $4.95 million, the new station currently accommodates 12 QPS members dedicated to the local division of Biloela and a further six officers providing specialist detective, intelligence and highway patrol functions as part of the Capricornia Police District resources. Biloela Police Station is also a certified training centre for First Year Constables.
Senior Sergeant Jane Healy, the Officer in Charge at Biloela Police Station, unveiled the plaque for the new station at the official opening. Afterwards, she spoke of how thrilled she was with the new state-of-the-art facility.
“I’m super excited,” she said. “I feel very fortunate. I came here in August (last year), and I walked into the middle of the project. So, aside from that being a little bit hectic and having to catch up, you couldn’t ask for more – coming in to be the new OIC of a station and actually getting a brand new station. I’m definitely feeling very fortunate.
“For the size of the town and what we do here and the size of the staffing, you couldn’t really ask for more in terms of what we have.”
As well as officially opening the new station today, Commissioner Carroll and Minister Ryan also launched three police camper trailers, with one on display at the Biloela station.
The trailers will be used by officers across Queensland on deployment to events and operations in isolated areas across the state.
“The camper trailer initiative means police can deploy to a range of policing activities, be they planned operations or unplanned natural disasters, and be accommodated in comfort and safety when traditional accommodation is not available,” Commissioner Carroll said.
- Tags: Banana Shire, Biloela, Police station