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Landmark conference highlights council role in safety

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The Hon Wendy Fatin MR Minister for Local Government Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women

r November 26 1991


Public safety must be a priority in urban design, according to the Federal Minister for Local Government, the Hon Wendy Fatin MP.

Opening the Local Government "Creating Safer Communities" Conference at Melbourne’s World Congress Centre today, Ms Fatin urged councils to make access to emergency accommodation and crisis support centres a central consideration in town planning.

"Simple measures such as adequate lighting in public parks and clearly visible pedestrian walkways are easy ways to make the urban environment safer," Ms Fatin said. "Councils can also contribute by creating safe, enjoyable places for young people to go."

In the longer term, however, better integration of social and physical planning was needed to lessen the risk of violence and crime. Planning had to consider factors like child care, school facilities, youth centres and access to employment.

Ms Fatin said that today’s conference marked the first step in strengthening Local Government’s ability to respond to community safety and security.

"In this respect, I will be considering its outcome with a view to providing financial and other assistance to strategic Local Government projects," she said.

"With the working cooperation of Load Government, I believe we can create a genuinely safer environment."

Ms Fatin said the conference was evidence of considerable cooperation on the issue of violence between all spheres of government and the private sector.

Visiting speakers include the facilitator of Toronto’s Safe City Committee Carolyn Whitzman, and Tim Kendrick, Director of the Safe Neighbourhoods Unit in London.

"This is a rare opportunity for councils to adapt overseas insights into local safety," Ms Fatin said. "I am pleased to see also that the WA and Qld State Governments have taken advantage of this national conference and organised State-based Local Government and Crime Prevention seminars to coincide with Carolyn Whitzman’s visit."

The three-day conference follows the announcement of a range of Commonwealth initiatives which address the issue of violence in the community.

Contact: Ruth Dewsbury (06) 277 7240