October 8, 2008
Funding to trial night security at the Traralgon taxi rank expired at the weekend.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the Federal Government had provided funding last year for Latrobe City Council to trial taxi rank security, improve street lighting and investigate the use of CCTV cameras in the Central Business District (CBD).
However, the funding has now been fully allocated.
Mr Chester is working with Member for Morwell Russell Northe and the Traralgon CBD Safety Group to find alternative funding sources to improve street safety.
Mr Northe said he would vigorously pursue funding for a ‘night rider’ bus service when State Parliament sits in the Latrobe Valley next week.
“I understand that the Victorian Government has provided $2.8 million for ‘night rider’ bus services in metropolitan areas, but nothing for the Latrobe Valley or other regional areas,” Mr Northe said.
“The community safety issues stem from having too many people waiting around in the streets, because they cannot get a taxi home.
“Local night club managers, police and others on the Traralgon CBD Safety Group have all supported the need for a ‘night rider’ bus service to provide improved transport for those who have been out in Traralgon and I will pursue this funding as a matter of priority.”
Mr Northe said other State Governments had committed funding for taxi security. New South Wales Government has provided funding for security guards to patrol and supervise ranks in Sydney CBD, Manly, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Griffith and Tamworth. Brisbane and Mackay have received funding for taxi rank security in Queensland.
Mr Chester is seeking Federal Government intervention, given that the problems are not restricted to Traralgon, but rather, a national issue.
Mr Chester has made representations to the Federal Government seeking more funding for the Traralgon CBD Safety Group, but so far the Minster for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, has failed to recognise the importance of such projects.
“The Rudd Labor Government has so far refused to commit any funding to the National Community Crime Prevention Program (NCCPP) despite the benefits this has formerly delivered to communities like Traralgon,” Mr Chester said.
“People have a right to feel safe in their own communities and the need for added safety measures is being demonstrated right across the country.
“The Federal Government must come to the party and provide additional funding to address problems like those reported in Traralgon.”
Mr Chester said Traralgon was no different to other major regional centres.
“Most people do not go out to cause trouble and I’m led to believe that when trouble does occur, it often involves people from outside of the local region.
“If we can secure some vital funding to provide security upgrades and improve transport options, people will feel more comfortable to go out with their friends and know that they can get home without having to wait in the street for taxis.”