Cleaning Up Victoria

Cleaning Up Victoria

Victoria Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu

Coalition To Give Teeth To Community-Based Sentences

Victor P Taffa

A Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will initiate the most significant reform of community-based sentences that Victoria has seen in 20 years, providing our courts with a broad range of strong and effective new powers to ensure offenders repay the community for the harm they have done.

Under a Coalition Government, the current cumbersome and limited range of community based sentences will be replaced with a single, flexible Community Correction Order (CCO) delivering tougher, common-sense sentences targeted directly at both the offender and the offence.

In addition to the sanctions available under existing orders, the new CCO will give courts a wide range of express powers to impose conditions that will protect the community and prevent re-offending.

 

The conditions applied to a CCO will reflect the circumstances of the case and the offender concerned, and may include:

• Up to 600 hours of community work;

• Curfews and no-go zones;

• Conditions on where an offender may live;

• Driving licence restrictions, suspension or cancellation;

• Impounding or immobilisation of vehicles;

• Prohibitions or restrictions on:

  •  Contact with specified associates;
  • Access to licensed premises;
  • Use of alcohol;

• Payment of a cash bond or other surety, which will be liable to forfeiture upon breach of conditions.

Courts will also be authorised to require offenders to accept GPS monitoring in cases where the court considers it appropriate, in order to reduce the risk of re-offending or ensure compliance with other conditions.

Courts will be able to draw on any combination of these new powers and existing powers such as requiring offenders to undergo suitable drug, alcohol, mental health treatment, or anger management courses to get offenders to re-establish their lives on a stable basis, develop responsibility for their conduct and avoid re-offending.

Under a Coalition Government, offenders given community-based sentences will be required to put in real work to repay the community for the harm they have done.

Offenders who fail to comply with the conditions of a CCO, including the obligation to properly perform unpaid community work, will commit an offence.

Authorities will be given the discretion to issue an on-the-spot fine for less serious breaches, which will streamline the enforcement process and slash enforcement costs.

Recurrent breaches and serious compliance issues will result in the offender being returned to court for re-sentencing, where the courts will have power to send them to jail.

“This initiative will dramatically strengthen the hand of authorities to deal with offenders who treat their CCO as a joke, deliberately act up, are disruptive or just won’t work, and who think they can get away with it because of the effort and paperwork required to haul them back before the court.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“Many honest, hard-working tertiary students work 50 hours a month or more in part time jobs just to pay their way through their course, yet a G20 rioter can get away with just 50 hours of community service for all the harm and damage they’ve done.”

“Under Labor, the average graffiti vandal ordered to do graffiti clean-up does less than 18 hours’ cleaning, and even then only cleans 2 ¾ square metres of graffiti an hour and picks up 80 grams of rubbish. A Coalition Government will put a stop to this farce.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“Our reforms will empower the courts to take direct and meaningful action targeted at stopping further criminal behaviour. The burglar who drives from suburb to suburb invading victims’ homes may lose their licence or even their car; the graffiti vandal who damages our trains in the middle of the night may end up under a curfew; and the violent thug who goes to the city looking for trouble should not be surprised if they are banned from coming into the CBD after dark.”

“A Baillieu Government is committed to restoring respect for the law and responsibility for conduct, while also helping offenders to get their lives back on track.” Mr. Baillieu said.

“These reforms are part of the Coalition’s commitment to providing judges and magistrates with the tools, the discretion and the flexibility to do their job properly, and ensuring that sentencing laws reflect the community’s needs and expectations.”

“It’s time for us, as a community, to get serious about intervening in the lives of offenders before they graduate to more serious crime. To do this, we need tougher, common-sense sentences targeted at the circumstances of the offender and the offence. This kind of responsive sentencing framework will be delivered by a Coalition Government, as we work towards a stronger, fairer, safer Victoria.” Mr. Baillieu said.

Responsibility for Election Comment

Under the provisions of the relevant Electoral Act responsibility for all election comment is assumed by Editor Victor P Taffa. The Registered office of The Southern Thunderer is at 4/69a Darvall Road, West Ryde NSW 2114.