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Thursday, 19 June 2003
Page: 17086


Mr HUNT (9:42 AM) —I rise to speak about opportunities and need for greater policing and security in two towns within my electorate—Somerville and Baxter. Not long ago I travelled with the police between midnight and 4 a.m. on a Sunday, visited the towns of Somerville and Baxter and looked at what the police found. I discovered two things. Firstly, there is a high degree of security in Somerville, Baxter, Tyabb, Hastings and surrounding towns. Secondly, the combination of the shortage of policing resources and a significant underage drinking problem means that there is a level of insecurity which is troubling to residents of both Somerville and Baxter.

There is a solution to this and there are two parts to it. First, there must be more police based in Hastings—the first stage is to build towards a greater police presence in Hastings, which covers the areas of Somerville and Baxter. Second, we have to work towards the creation of a police station in Somerville once we have achieved the requisite number in Hastings. In addition to that, there are some very practical steps that we can take. In the area of Somerville we have Fruitgrowers Reserve, and that has a significant underage drinking problem late at night. It is where young people congregate. When the police arrive, the young people throw away their unsealed alcohol and say that any sealed alcohol belongs to people over the age of 18—there is always one person there over the age of 18.

I have written to the mayor, Councillor David Renouf, about a proposal that the Fruitgrowers Reserve have a council by-law imposed on it banning both unsealed and sealed alcohol between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. It is not a draconian law—it is a simple and practical way of resolving a problem whereby young people gather and exploit a loophole in the law. This is a means of closing the loophole and protecting young people from being abused and exploited by those over the age of 18. There is a risk and it is a problem, but there is a simple solution. I urge the council to adopt that solution.

I urge that the same thing be adopted in relation to the area outside the Baxter shops. There is a similar congregation of young people in the car park there. They throw away the opened alcohol when the police arrive. They claim that the unopened alcohol belongs to those over the age of 18. Again, if we impose a by-law in the Baxter shopping area so that all outlets for the sale of alcohol are closed after 8 p.m., we will offer greater security to the residents of Somerville and Baxter. (Time expired)