The latest Victorian crime statistics have confirmed that crime is again a major concern across Victoria, including the Hastings electorate.
The June 2016 quarter figures show crime has continued to spiral out of control across all three local government areas of my electorate, with the City of Casey up 17.7 per cent, the City of Frankston up 12.5 per cent and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council up almost 10 per cent.
A similarly dangerous lawless situation developed during the Bracks and Brumby years, when those Labor governments abandoned law and order and left Victoria with the lowest per capita numbers of police officers in the nation. During those dark and dangerous years Victorians were forced to become accustomed to gang warfare, frequent murders, sexual assaults and daily reports of machete and other serious knife attacks. Weapon searches became a daily occurrence in many places, including schools, hospitals and similar institutions.
The response of the Andrews government has been as predictable as it has been dangerous. Police numbers have been slashed, police stations have been closed or their hours have been cut, and of course in my own community there has been the disgracefully political refusal by a soft-on-crime Premier and Minister for Police to open or staff a Liberal government-built $16.3 million state-of-the-art police station.
The statistics indicate a startling leap of as much as 50 per cent in crime in townships across the Hastings electorate. This government was given a buoyant state economy, and it has just sold one of our most important assets for $10 billion. This Premier has everything he needs to get this job done, yet he refuses to do so. If he is unable or unwilling to do so, he should step aside and allow somebody who is willing to do it.