After a month of confusion the infamous Croome Road security guard is gone.
The government had been paying thousands of dollars for a security guard and vehicle to sit outside an empty house in Croome Road, Croom.
The house, which is in the footprint of the Albion Park Rail Bypass, was bought by Roads and Maritime Services in April last year.
The Mercury understands the guard had been on duty outside the empty house 24 hours a day seven days a week since August 2017.
Based on award wages the guard could have been costing the government as much as $4000 a week.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesman confirmed the guard was no longer parked in the driveway.
As a member of this community I was absolutely gobsmacked by that.Gareth Ward on the decision to pay a security service to guard an empty house.
“A security guard in place at 149 Croome Road at Croom was removed last Friday February 9 after a review was carried out to determine the need for an ongoing security presence at this location,” the spokesman said.
“Representations on this matter were also made to Roads and Maritime Services by the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, MP.”
This is a change from an earlier Roads and Maritime Services statement that said it was not aware of any such request from Mr Ward, the Parliamentary Secretary for the South Coast.
It is understood that Mr Ward had told a Roads and Maritime Services manager to scrap the guard but that employee had since gone on leave.
With that in mind, last week Mr Ward repeated his request to Roads and Maritime Services.
“I can confirm to you that the security guard has been removed as per my request,” Mr Ward said.
“I gave a very clear direction to remove that security guard and that direction has been responded to.”
Mr Ward felt the presence of a the security guard was a distraction neither the government nor the bypass project needed.
“I wanted to get on with the project,” Mr Ward said
“I don’t want to be distracted by issues that, rightly, the public would be appalled at spending money on.
“As a member of this community I was absolutely gobsmacked by that.”