In Parliament

Motion: Debate Be Adjourned: Crime Crisis



Thursday, 20 June 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (11:59):

Speaker, we must urgently debate the crime crisis in Victoria, and that is why the Member has moved to adjourn debate – because we must do it now; we must do it urgently. The time for action is now.

The Government has spoken today, trying to explain away why this Parliament should not be debating this urgent issue, and they have said, ‘Well, the Premier and the Minister have talked to the people this week.’ So what? The Premier and the Minister have done talking – well, frankly, have done nothing – for far too long. And what has happened as a result? We have seen a massive spike in crime over recent years. But in this last year, in the data released today, we have seen a 10 per cent increase across the board and a 20 per cent increase in youth crime.

What is the Government proposing to do? Nothing. They have brought a Bill into this place which does nothing except soften the law further. It is absolutely outrageous. We have seen bail laws softened at a time when we need tougher laws. We need tougher laws on punishments, and we need tougher laws on bail.

In my community in Bayside over the weekend we saw that young teens working in local grocers were attacked by a gang of thugs, one of whom has so far been arrested – only one. These thugs have come in with knives. The profound impact that has had on those workers has been extraordinary, and they should not have to put up with this in their workplace. Why should they? But this is what is happening in the community because the Premier is ignoring these crimes. Do you hear the Premier ever talk about this crime crisis that is happening in Victoria? Absolutely not. All you hear the Premier do is try and talk down the importance of them. Talk about gaslighting victims – how outrageous.

Every time you see a crime, a knife crime especially, you hear a Minister or the Premier walk out and talk down the crime that has occurred. And it has happened now for years. But we have got to the point where the data that is being released is showing what the community already knows, so the Government cannot keep hiding from it. You see it with aggravated burglaries, up 18 per cent this year – up 18 per cent in one year. I know about these crimes because they have happened proportionately more in the Bayside community. They are almost 150 cent up over the life of this Government.

Ten years ago, home invasion was a concept you did not even know about. Now it is regular in Bayside in many of our streets. In some streets in my community there have been multiple cases over time of home invasion. But it is not just those crimes; there has been a nearly 23 per cent increase in motor vehicle theft and an almost 35 per cent increase in theft from retail. And you hear that from traders. Traders talk about this. That is one in three. I mean, these numbers are huge, and you hear that from traders. You would think the Government would actually care about business at a time that business is doing it tough, but of course the Government is just ignoring these crimes. We have seen 43 police station closures. Over the last year there has been a 3 per cent reduction in police and over the last two years a 5 per cent reduction in police. How can you allow this, if you are a Government, at a time that these crimes are getting more vicious and more violent?

When you talk to the police privately, they are calling it out. On Saturday after these crimes occurring, the police were contacting me and saying, ‘Please, please tell this left-wing Government to do something about the law, to do something about bail.’ And you feel for these hardworking police men and women, because they are trying to look after their community. They are putting themselves at risk for all of us, and they are saying they want action from this Government, not a Premier who is ignoring these crimes. That is what this Government does – ignore these crimes. It is absolutely outrageous.

We must urgently stop debate. We must debate these issues, the issues of this crime crisis in Victoria, because we need action now. We need tougher laws. We need to toughen bail. We need action now.