From the Newsroom

Parliamentary inquiry into regional and rural crime

Rodney Stevens


Escalating crime in regional and rural communities combined with pressure from the public and the National Party has resulted in the Minns NSW Government launching a Parliamentary inquiry into Community Safety in regional and rural communities.

Announced on Tuesday, March 20, the inquiry adopted by the NSW Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Law and Safety will be chaired by Edmond Atalla (ALP) who said the committee will investigate the drivers of youth crime in the regions and actions the NSW Government can take to improve community safety.

When he made a Private Members Statement last week, Member for Clarence, Richie Williamson, along with all 15 NSW National Party MPs called for a public inquiry into regional youth crime, and when it was announced on March 20, he said the inquiry was long overdue.

“It is an important step forward in a whole-of-government approach to seeking solutions to tackle the root causes of escalating crime in regional communities like the Richmond and Clarence valleys,” Mr Williamson said.

“The NSW Nationals fought side by side with the Country Mayors Association, the Police Association and NSW Famers calling for an in-depth parliamentary inquiry into the causes of the spike in crime in regional communities and what was needed to address it.

“I am pleased the Premier and Police Minister have finally listened so we can get on with the job of seeking solutions to the crime wave impacting regional communities.”

Mr Williamson said he had spoken with Shadow Police Minister and member of the the NSW Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Law and Safety, Paul Toole about the impact crime is having on his electorate.

“I know Paul will advocate very strongly to ensure no stone is left unturned in investigating the drivers of youth crime in all regional communities and actions that can be taken to improve community safety,” he said.

“I will also be writing to the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee, Edmond Atalla, requesting the Committee holds a public hearing in my electorate.

“The Committee wants to hear first-hand from regional communities and is accepting public submissions until 31 May.

“I encourage local residents, particularly those who have been impacted by crime, to tell their stories by lodging a submission.”

News of the inquiry comes after Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, called on the NSW Government to change young offender laws.

Mr Hogan said he had heard of young offenders getting up to eight warnings and cautions before they are charged with certain crimes.

He wrote to Minister for Youth Justice, Jihad Dib, calling for an urgent review of young offender laws and programs in regional and rural areas to help prevent youth crime.

Parliamentary committee chair, Edmond Atalla said over the past five years, NSW has experienced worrying increases in specific forms of regional crime, such as motor vehicle offences and break and enter offences.

“As well as looking at the root causes of youth crime, the inquiry will also examine the wraparound and diversionary services available for youth and families in the regions and rural areas,” he said.

“We will consider how the NSW Government can better match services to individuals and how these services can be measured, improved, and coordinated to divert youth from crime.

“Throughout its work, the inquiry will have regard to the NSW Government’s commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal people.

“We will also look at staffing and workforce issues in regional and rural areas, the pressures on NSW Police officers and the impact of recidivism on regional communities, on services and on law enforcement.”

Mr Atalla encouraged locals to make a submission to the inquiry.

“The Committee wants to hear first-hand from regional communities and their representatives about best practice prevention initiatives – from standout community services to law enforcement initiatives and leading diversionary programs,” he said.

Submissions from the public are invited until May 31, 2024.

To make a submission or read the inquiry Terms of Reference visit