No need to ramp up bikie rulings

THE NSW government will not be rushing to copy Queensland’s controversial anti-bikie laws, according to the state’s attorney-general.

During a visit to Tamworth yesterday, Greg Smith described the state’s laws relating to outlaw motorcycle gangs as “very strong”.

The comment comes after heavily-armed officers attached to Strike Force Raptor stormed the Gladiators’ clubhouse in Gunnedah last Friday.

While the raid yielded seven truckloads of illegal alcohol, no drugs were seized and no gang members have been charged at this stage.

Police have since copped criticism from some quarters for their “heavy-handed” tactics and accusations they unfairly targeted club members.

But Mr Smith said NSW Police had done a “magnificent job” protecting the community from the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“I think the police are doing a marvellous job keeping the bikies at bay, as it were, and locking many of them up,” he said.

“Strike Force Raptor and the various other strike and task forces the police put together have been locking up hundreds of these people, seizing any guns, drugs and many other things.”

The Queensland government’s extreme anti-bikie laws, which are subject to an ongoing High Court challenge, have been labelled a breach of human rights.

Under the laws, the gathering in a public place of three or more bikies deemed from a “criminal gang” is illegal and strict mandatory minimum sentences have been introduced for a range of offences specific to bikies.

“I’m not sure that we’ll be following anything they’ve done at the moment,” Mr Smith said.“We’ll just watch this space, as it were, and hope to get our own 

consorting laws through (the High Court).”

However, Mr Smith did not rule out examining laws that dictated Gunnedah Shire Council approve plans for the Gladiators’ clubhouse in 2004 despite concerns raised by senior police.

“I would have thought if they put in a development application to build some sort of building – as long as it was a complying building – it’s a bit hard for councils, until they can prove illegal conduct, to take any further action,” Mr Smith said.

“Maybe we do need further laws there.”

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