Adjournment: Geelong CBD Crime

GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (18:04:41): My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and it relates to ongoing crime and antisocial behaviour within the Geelong CBD, in particular within the Geelong mall area. This is an area that is close to my heart. I spent many hours walking the beat within the mall and made many arrests during that time. Sadly, it continues to happen to this day. The Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Lisa Neville, was recently quoted in the Geelong Advertiser stating that police would increase patrols and monitor CCTV in the area.

There are two things in this. As a former police officer, while working in the watch house in Geelong I first had experience with the CCTV system. It has been operating for many, many years. It is staffed constantly in the watch house, and it is also staffed by members of the public on Fridays and Saturdays. This is already happening. I therefore suggest that the minister has offered no new solution at all. I have spoken to landlords who have been assaulted at work and badgered for money and who have had their goods stolen, and this leaves them feeling unsafe—a feeling that no person should ever experience within their community. One business even had someone defecate on their premises, and another one had a staff member spat upon. Unfortunately this is not uncommon. ust last week, on Monday at around 1.00 p.m., a female shopper waiting for the bus was hit in the face with a bottle after stepping in to protect a man who was being assaulted near the infamous bus stop within the Geelong CBD. It was broad daylight, during the week, in a populated area—astounding and disgusting. In 2014 an initiative was born to attract more people to the Geelong CBD, known as Food Truck Fridays. Back then it attracted more than 2000 patrons; however, and with sadness, this figure has dropped by nearly 70 per cent to around 700 last year.

I have spoken with many people excited about such initiatives who saw them as vital to the growth of the CBD, and seeing its demise is heartbreaking. Furthermore, the initiative to stream classical music within the mall precinct, which is apparently designed to calm people and an attempt to prevent violence and antisocial behaviour, has clearly not worked. This is a serious issue, we need serious answers, and it will simply not go away. We need action now. The action that I seek is for the minister to visit the Geelong mall during its peak period to experience the issues firsthand and provide an update on what resources are being deployed and planned to reduce the crime rate, the alcohol abuse, the drug abuse and the homelessness in order to return the good people of Geelong back to the CBD.