Victoria Shadow Minister for Police Peter Ryan
Brumby In Denial Over Ballarat Police Shortage
Victor P Taffa
The Brumby Government’s failure to invest in more frontline Police has seen an alarming rise in violent crime in Ballarat, Shadow Minister for Police and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.
Research by the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition shows assault has skyrocketed by 77.5 % while violent crime has jumped by 50.4 % over the past 10 years in Ballarat.
Mr. Ryan used State Parliament Question Time today to again pressure John Brumby to acknowledge Ballarat’s desperate Police shortage by raising last week’s case of a brutal knife assault on a young man in Lydiard Street.
Mr. Ryan asked the Premier: “given violent assault has risen by more than 75 % over the past 10 years in Ballarat, will the Premier now concede that by ignoring Ballarat’s serious police shortage his government is leaving local residents dangerously exposed to violent assault?”
“John Brumby again denied there was a Police shortage problem in Ballarat, even though assault and violent crime have spiralled out of control since Labor came to power.” Mr. Ryan said.
“An analysis of Police statistics obtained under Freedom of Information laws shows the number of assaults in Ballarat has increased from 520 in 2000-01 to 923 in 2008-09.
“Incidents of violent crime have risen from 764 in 2000-01 to 1,149 in 2008-09. Victoria has the lowest number of operational Police per head in Australia. Ballarat is just one example of the Brumby Government leaving Victorians dangerously exposed to random violence.”
“The Ballarat community urgently needs more Police but Mr. Brumby, Geoff Howard (Ballarat East MLA) and Karen Overington (Ballarat West MLA) stubbornly refuse to listen to the concerns of residents, civic leaders and local businesses.” Mr. Ryan said.
“Mr. Howard continues to stand by his ridiculous claim that anti-social behaviour is a ‘community problem’, when he knows full well his government should take responsibility for the increasing crime and offer a solution by way of providing more Police to tackle the issue.”
Mr. Ryan said Ballarat’s rise in crime was no surprise to many in the local community, who had repeatedly expressed concern about the thin blue line being stretched to capacity.
“The Brumby Government is no longer listening to Victorians communities in the city and the country are fed up with the government’s ‘soft on crime’ approach.” Mr. Ryan said.
“Under Labor, the total number of assaults in Victoria last year increased nearly 7 %, from 32,337 to 34,563.”
“The solution to Victoria’s law and order problem lies with more resources and extra Police. The people of Ballarat justifiably demand that John Brumby, Geoff Howard and Karen Overington listen to their pleas.” Mr. Ryan said.