darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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January 21, 2010

The Federal Government has been urged to restore funding to the National Community Crime Prevention Program (NCCPP) after a survey of Latrobe Valley residents found more than 90% of people were concerned about the level of crime.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the community survey undertaken by his State colleague Russell Northe found that Latrobe Valley residents were overwhelmingly concerned about  community safety and wanted more police on the beat to combat anti-social behaviour.

More than 600 people responded to the survey with 92% of respondents indicating that they would like more police on the streets and 91% expressing support for tougher penalties on people found guilty of community alcohol-related assaults.

“The survey results send a strong message to the State and Federal Governments that they must do more to clean up our streets,” Mr Chester said.

“The majority of people can enjoy a few drinks during a night out and not cause any problems but our community must be protected from the minority who become violent and show no respect for others.

“Governments have a fundamental responsibility to protect the community and provide law and order on our streets. After more than 10 years of the Bracks and Brumby Labor Governments, families throughout Victoria don’t feel safe walking the streets after dark and want a stronger police presence.

“After two years of the Rudd Labor Government, we have seen funding run out for grassroots community crime prevention. It’s time for both levels of government to take a stronger approach to community safety.”

Mr Chester said the previous Federal Government allocated $65.5 million over four years of the NCCPP until June 2008 but the Attorney-General’s office has advised that all available funding has been awarded.

“This was designed as a grassroots program to prevent or reduce crime and improve community safety while also reducing the fear of crime in the community,” Mr Chester said.

“There should be a greater commitment from this government to provide funding for local solutions to combat anti-social behaviour.

“The State Labor Government has failed to keep our streets safe and the Federal Government can play a bigger role by supporting practical local initiatives to improve community safety like the installation of closed circuit television cameras, improved lighting and safe taxi ranks.

“Organisations like the Traralgon CBD Safety Committee have been working hard to clean up the streets and have sought funding for closed circuit television, a night-rider bus service and security guards at taxi ranks, but despite repeated requests for government funding – no support has been forthcoming.”

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