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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1112

Ms O'DWYER (Higgins) (11:06): The constituents of Higgins are well served by unique, vibrant strip shopping centres which in effect form a village for their local communities. The shopping, restaurants and nightlife of Chapel Street in the east are a magnet for the young, and young at heart, from within Higgins and afar, while the diverse eateries and fresh food retailers in Koornang Road give the family friendly suburb of Carnegie a cosmopolitan edge. However, such activity, on occasion, brings with it unwanted antisocial behaviour and crime.

I am very pleased to inform the House that I was recently able to announce that I had secured $200,000 for these areas to enable the provision of CCTV and increased security measures, such as lighting. The funds will be sourced from unfreezing the Commonwealth's proceeds of crime fund. While no-one would argue that CCTV and increased lighting will eradicate crime and antisocial behaviour, I believe they will form a deterrent and, if crime occurs, assist Victoria Police in apprehending those responsible.

Crime is a real and genuine issue within my electorate. Since being elected in 2009, 2,987 constituents have directly contacted my office to raise their concerns with me. Such concerns are also shared by local community organisations. I am pleased that I have had an ongoing dialogue with a number of representative groups in the Prahran-South Yarra area on this very issue, specifically the Lara Barry Residents Association, the Chapel Street Traders Association and the local police command. It was therefore very pleasing that in 2012 I was able to arrange for the then Leader of the Opposition and now Prime Minister, the member for Warringah, to meet with these groups directly and see for himself the difficulties presented for those communities that live in close proximity to restaurants, hotels and nightclubs.

Similarly, I have had a strong and long-standing dialogue with the Carnegie Traders Association. In a bid to present their shopping precinct in the most positive manner, we have had wide-ranging discussions which have focused on the need to maintain Koornang Road as a family-friendly retail village and hospitality precinct. The Carnegie Traders Association were therefore delighted that funds were attained to increase security. I was particularly pleased to receive an email from a local trader who said, 'Having recently experienced attempted break-ins to my shop and with the knowledge that others in the area have had the same experience, as well as two shops being burgled, it's great to know that we have our local and federal representatives working hard to assist us in the fight against antisocial behaviour.'

Now that the funds have been secured, I am pleased to inform the House that I have today commenced the process of consulting with both communities as to the specifics of how the funds will be spent. As a first step I have today written to both Councillor Stubbs and Councillor Pilling, the newly elected mayors of Stonnington and Glen Eira, in order to maintain their ongoing support that I was so pleased to receive from their predecessors. I will also be keeping the local police representatives abreast of the process from here and seeking their input as to their areas of specific concern and talking with key stakeholders and the aforementioned community organisations over the next few weeks and months.

In addition, in January next year I will be writing directly to my constituents in the suburbs of Prahran, South Yarra, Windsor and Carnegie, inviting them to make their views known to me through a survey, by attending a community forum or at one of my regular mobile office meetings.

This information will assist in ensuring the funds are spent in the most efficient and proactive manner. It will also ensure that everyone has an input. When the worst in human nature emerges, security measures such as proper lighting and CCTV can assist in solving the most heinous of crimes. For all Victorians this was starkly illustrated in the well-publicised terrible murder of Jill Maher in Sydney Road, Brunswick. No-one should feel unsafe walking the streets during the day or night. The commitment of these funds will go a long way to making the streets of Prahran, South Yarra and Windsor and Carnegie a safer and more enjoyable place for all.