ADJOURNMENT DEBATE ON GEELONG MALL POLICE PRESENCE

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Police and concerns the necessity for a stronger police presence at Geelong’s Little Malop Street mall to ensure the safety of traders and residents in the area.

Geelong’s mall is currently a hotbed of crime, violence and other antisocial behaviour which has damaged lives, property and the prosperity of business owners.

Last Thursday the Shadow Minister for Police and I visited small business owners at the mall to hear their concerns regarding the unaddressed crime problem in the area.

We talked to small business people like Vanessa at VenHair Creations and Ricky at Alamarah Barbers, who expressed the difficulty for traders to do business when customers are not confident of visiting their premises for fear of intimidation by those who engage in unruly antisocial behaviour.

In January a man in his 20s was stabbed at the bus exchange beside the mall. How can businesses thrive in an environment where customers feel that their lives may be endangered should they shop at that location?

The problem is undoubtedly multifaceted and needs a holistic approach to its causes.

However, the issues of violence in Geelong’s mall are often fuelled by alcohol and drug abuse and often result in unfortunate wilful damage to public property and business premises.

These problems are not new, but if Geelong is to have a thriving city centre this particular crime issue must be solved.

A stronger police presence and greater visibility would act as an effective deterrent to antisocial behaviour, which is why the action I seek from the minister is to have the minister for police introduce a permanent police presence in the Geelong mall.

15 August 2019