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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2345


Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (19:45): At the outset, can I support the remarks made earlier in this debate by the member for La Trobe in relation to the scourge of gangs in Victoria. When I speak to constituents and other people in Victoria, one of the issues that are raised by them on a fairly consistent basis is the fear of violence within the community at a level which hasn't existed in the past. As you would know, Mr Speaker, from your electorate, throughout the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, but in the western suburbs of Melbourne as well, there is a fear amongst our constituents about the rate of carjackings, burglaries and robberies that occur in Melbourne at the present time, and it is a matter which needs to be addressed. The policy of 'softly, softly' policing, which has been in place in Victoria for over a decade now, has not worked. A zero-tolerance approach to the aggravated activities of the gangs is needed, and it needs to be backed up by the bail laws, which simply should not presume that a person automatically gets bail in the case of these types of alleged offences. Indeed, it needs to be supported by the judiciary in Victoria.

My call is to the Premier and the leadership of the state government in Victoria to actually show that this is an important issue for ordinary Victorians who want to feel safe not just on the streets of Melbourne and elsewhere in the state but, indeed, in their own homes. When it comes to the point that people, particularly elderly people, are fearful in their own homes, I believe we've got a problem that really does need to be addressed. I commend the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Guy, and the other members of the opposition in Victoria for having announced a series of measures that they would take if elected in November this year to form government in Victoria. I didn't come in to speak about that, Mr Speaker, but I thought that what the member for La Trobe said about the situation in the state was important and that it should be reaffirmed by a fellow Victorian.

I was pleased to be able to support and recently announce a series of grants to local organisations under the Stronger Communities Program. These grants were to Doncare, the principal welfare organisation in my electorate, to purchase a crew van to assist with donation collections and to transport special-needs patients; to the Croydon Hills Men's Shed—which you'd be very familiar with, Mr Speaker—to construct a clean eating area there; to the Manningham Men's Shed to upgrade a walkway and replace old heating and cooling facilities; to Schramms Sports Club to upgrade kitchen facilities; to the Bulleen Templestowe Amateur Football Club to restore lighting facilities at the Ted Ajani Reserve and to purchase an electronic scoreboard; to the Coptic Orthodox Church in Templestowe to upgrade an outdoor area; to the Australian Air League to upgrade educational equipment—the Air League operates out of the RSL subbranch at Doncaster and is a very vital organisation for many young people involved in cadet and Scout-like activities; to the Friends of Warrandyte State Park, one of the major nature reserves along the Yarra River, for installation of a water system; to the Doncaster Cricket Club for building restoration and repairs; and to the Veneto Club—which is celebrating, I think, its 50th or 60th anniversary this year, having been founded for all of those people from the Veneto region of northern Italy who've settled in Bulleen and surrounding areas of my electorate—to upgrade the women's change rooms. This is important because, with the uptake of women's sport in football, whatever the code—in the case of the Veneto Club, the world game, soccer, but also in relation to AFL games—the upgrading of facilities, including change rooms, is obviously very important.

Also receiving grants was the Templestowe Junior Football Club for lighting, the Templestowe RSL for the upgrading of their air-conditioning system, St Mark's Anglican Church for the construction of a community garden and meeting place and, finally, the Maroondah Council for the upgrade of change room facilities at Quamby Reserve to accommodate, once again, the growing female membership and participation in sport in that part of the electorate.