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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1395


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (10:34): Can I say thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker Vamvakinou, for your role in and your bipartisan approach to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration as the deputy chair. Melbourne is a fantastic place to live. In actual fact, it is regarded as the most livable city in the world. But, sadly, there is an underlying fear in the community. Melburnians are worried that they will be the next victim of an aggravated burglary, where someone breaks into their house to steal their family car. They are worried that they could potentially be the next person to be subjected to a carjacking.

This fear is a real fear. Melbourne actually has a greater incidence of serious crimes such as break-ins, armed robberies et cetera than New South Wales. The current state Labor government's soft-on-crime approach has led to an increase in violent youth crime. In order to restore safety for ourselves, our friends and our families in Victoria, we must adopt a policy of one strike and you are out when it comes to bail for serious violent crimes. I strongly believe in this approach. We must change the presumption laws for remand for violent offences so that the onus is shifted onto the offender, and being granted bail becomes the exception rather than the rule. The police should not have to prove that the offender must remain in custody.

We must establish a joint task force, with the Australian Federal Police teaming up with Victoria Police to take on violent youth gangs. This occurs internationally and it is working very well with outlaw motorcycle gang members. There should be in the same building immigration officials, who can look at visas, and importantly youth workers, who can help younger gang members and ensure they have every avenue possible to leave the gang. We must place the task force in two buildings in Melbourne's outer south-east and west, ensuring the growth corridors and the hot spots for violent youth gang activity are targeted. We must ensure existing settlement services are targeted as well as possible to help prevent young people entering gangs in the first place and finding themselves in even more difficult situations when they realise the cost of leaving these gangs later down the track. We must welcome the strengthening of visa cancellation laws by the federal government in 2014 and the cancellation of the visas of foreign gang members involved in serious criminal acts. We must examine ways to strengthen visa cancellation provisions, where required, to deport gang members who are on visas if they commit serious criminal acts and we must demand explanations and issue warning notices for younger offenders.

Enough is enough. It is time we got tough on these gangs and it is time the Victoria state government did something about it.