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Statement by Federal Labor Leader Mark Latham.



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FEDERAL LABOR LEADER MARK LATHAM

STATEMENT BY FEDERAL LABOR LEADER MARK LATHAM

Labor’s $50 Million plan for safer suburbs and stronger communities

Gosnells City Council in Perth has been an Australian pioneer in combining better urban design principles with crime prevention objectives as part of its SafeCity program.

The SafeCity program is a great example of how improved urban design can be used to tackle crime and community disorder. SafeCity is one of the best examples in Australia of the enormous potential of community based crime prevention.

Crime is clearly a personal responsibility. There can be no excuse for criminal behaviour. But common sense and experience also tells us that crime is a social problem too. Bad neighbourhoods with bad design foster crime. Senior Australians are most at risk.

A Federal Labor Government will help community organisations, state policing authorities and local governments to apply the successful principles of the SafeCity program, as well as developing their own local solutions to local problems.

Labor will commit $50 million to a new Safer Suburbs: Stronger Communities Program administered by the Department of Homeland Security to disburse grants to local organisations implementing local crime prevention projects and to support projects which are of national significance in assisting the fight against local crime.

The Gosnells SafeCity program will have access to funding from Safer Suburbs: Stronger Communities.

Projects supported by the fund will be action orientated and build on successful pilots in community crime prevention such as:

- Better urban design and neighbourhood renewal. - Restorative justice programs that bring offenders into contact with victims and local communities. - Local community empowerment measures, such as neighbourhood

watch, and night patrols. - Rapid response reporting, including campaigns for locals to report unlawful activity in public areas - Responsible behaviour and conduct codes for hotels and clubs. - Improved technology, including closed circuit TV cameras and public

lighting.

Unless Australians feel safe in their own homes or secure on their own streets, they are unable to enjoy life to the fullest.

All projects seeking support under Labor’s Safer Suburbs: Stronger Communities Program will be assessed for their impact by a high level expert group comprising policing representatives, urban design specialists, state and local authorities.

This process will ensure that projects succeed on merit and are not funded on the basis of local sectional or political interests.

Projects will need to satisfy specific criteria such as:

- A solid body of evidence on local crime conditions, including an audit of crime and disorder and the development of a local plan of action - Consultation between the community, local government and local law enforcement agencies on the action plan - Specific evaluation mechanisms - Project can be applied to other communities and builds on the body of

evidence on successful community crime prevention projects

PERTH 18 SEPTEMBER 2004