Labor MLC and shadow north coast minister Walt Secord said the government continued to deny there was a problem of increased bikie gang activity on the north coast, even after a fire which destroyed the Nomads clubhouse in Byron Bay’s industrial estate at the weekend, believed to be deliberately lit.
The week before, members of the Ballina chapter of the Rebels Motorcycle Club were arrested on drugs charges.
Last month, the state government attacked the opposition for saying there was increased bikie activity on the north coast since Queensland premier Campbell Newman introduced his anti-bikie-gang laws.
The opposition says the controversial anti-bikie laws have driven bikie gangs into northern NSW.
But Mr Secord said the north coast National Party MPs Geoff Provest (Tweed), Don Page (Ballina) and Thomas George (Lismore) were not even acknowledging increased bikie-gang activity.
Mr Provest, who is the parliamentary secretary for police, has recently come under fire from the opposition for breaking election promises to increase police numbers for the Tweed-Byron command.
‘The Nationals and the O’Farrell government are acting like ostriches; they are putting their heads in the sand and are refusing to acknowledge the emergence of a bikie problem on the north coast,’ Mr Secord said.
‘The Nationals have cut police numbers by 20 and after a fire at Byron Bay clubhouse with bikie links they are still denying there is a problem,’ he said.
‘The community wants action, not excuses.
‘The first step is for the National Party MPs and the O’Farrell government to acknowledge there is a problem and stop attacking the messengers.’
Mr Provest continued to do just that yesterday, describing Mr Secord’s claims as ‘rubbish’.
Mr Provest said senior police had dismissed the claim of increased bikie-gang activity in the Tweed-Byron Bay area following the fire at the Nomads clubhouse.
Tweed-Byron police commander superintendent Stuart Wilkins told media there was ‘no other information or intelligence that any OMCGs (outlaw motorcycle gangs) are moving over the border’.
‘We keep a very close eye on these people, not only the Nomads, but the Odin’s Warriors and the Mongols. It doesn’t concern me,’ Supt Wilkins said.
Some observers say a turf war between bikie gangs has broken out on the north coast since the new Queensland anti-bikie-gang laws came into effect, but police say they have no intelligence on that.