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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 162

Mr CIOBO (12:08 PM) —Residents in my electorate of Moncrieff and citizens broadly of the city of the Gold Coast have a right to be able to live in safety and security. I know from speaking with many of them that they have genuine and, at times, profound concerns over the extent of some lawless behaviour that is perpetrated by small numbers of offenders—often bored teens getting up to mischief and engaging in relatively victimless crimes such as graffiti. Graffiti does not impact on a person’s safety, but it absolutely costs many victims often thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to remove and to repair, and it has a big impact on the morale in the community. I know from speaking with many of my constituents of their concerns not only about crimes like graffiti but also about more serious crimes such as assault, armed robbery and theft. In this respect, I am very pleased that the Howard government are leading the way with their National Community Crime Prevention Program.

In particular, I am looking forward to working very closely with the Surfers Paradise management, in particular their CEO Liliana Montague and chairman Graham Downey, on a submission to try to secure a large proportion of funding under the National Community Crime Prevention Program to fund additional security guards and the like in Surfers Paradise. This would help to ensure a greater sense of calm, a greater sense of law and order and a more welcoming environment for the many domestic and international tourists that visit Surfers Paradise.

Likewise, I was pleased to meet with representatives of the Chevron and Cronin Island Residents Association. Marcus Goyne, their president, came to talk to me about his concerns over some of the crimes that are taking place on Chevron Island. I know first-hand about these issues because my electoral office is on Chevron Island. I am looking forward to working very closely—as I have over the past number of years—with the Chevron and Cronin Island Residents Association to ensure that we are successful in lodging an application under the National Community Crime Prevention Program for the installation of closed-circuit TV cameras to assist police when it comes to maintaining law and order and in the successful prosecution of those engaged in this kind of nefarious activity.

I believe that the Queensland police do an excellent job on the Gold Coast. Frankly, they are under-resourced, and, as I have done so for four or five years now, I highlight my concern that the Beattie Labor government simply refuses to provide an adequate allocation of police officers to service the Gold Coast. Unfortunately, due to a poorly thought-out strategy and a formula that is applied to the allocation of police officers, we see an allocation of officers on the Gold Coast based upon the resident population. What this formula fails to take into account is the fact that as Australia’s No. 1 tourism destination the Gold Coast has at least 70,000 to 100,000 additional residents every single night. This increases by several hundred thousand additional guests on any night over the peak holiday periods. Frankly, the small, thin blue line, as we refer to it, is not enough to provide the kind of protection and assurance that the community rightfully demands to have. The Queensland police officers based on the Gold Coast do an outstanding job and I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their quest for additional resources.

I was concerned when a certain political candidate recently made disparaging comments about the suburbs of Merrimac and Merridown. These suburbs have historically had problems with respect to law and order, but I congratulate the Neighbourhood Watch group that has been working very proactively in that community to ensure a clampdown on those teen offenders who have been engaging in activities like graffitiing the local shops, the local park and residents’ homes. I would like to acknowledge Ros Bates, the head of the Mudgeeraba Community Action Group, who has also worked to help clamp down on these kinds of activities. Everyone deserves a right to be able to live in their community with safety, and I am pleased the Howard government makes that easier. (Time expired)