Auditor-General: Public Safety on Victoria'S Train System (4.05.2016)
Written on the 18 May 2016
4 May 2016
Statements on reports and papers
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
I am pleased to be able to rise this evening to speak to the Victorian Auditor-General's report of February 2016 entitled Public Safety on Victoria's Train System. Just before I go to the main issues in relation to what the Auditor-General has said about public safety on transport systems, I note that the opening remarks state that:All Victorians should be able to expect to not only feel safe, but also be safe when using our public transport system.
Now, I have just been listening to Mr O'Donohue's contribution about the Moomba riots and about the unprecedented behaviour and gang activity, especially over the Moomba weekend and the riots that occurred. One has to wonder, if we did not have protective service officers (PSOs) on our stations, whether public safety for commuters on the train system would have been more at risk that very weekend. Having PSOs on our trains and at every train station has certainly given a degree of comfort to many, many commuters, as is identified and stated in this report. It was a policy of the former government and a policy very well received by commuters travelling on public transport.I said in a previous contribution whilst talking to this report that the rollout of that program that was undertaken was successful and indeed put 950 PSOs at 170 railway stations. PSOs do a fantastic job not only at our railway stations but also in protecting other government facilities like Parliament House and the courts, but alarmingly I read in today's paper that that there is potential to reduce PSO numbers, according to this report headed 'Police association criticises move to reduce PSO numbers at Victorian Parliament House'.
I think that would be an absolutely detrimental move to make, because the PSOs do a terrific job in this place, and with the heightened threat of terrorism that we know is happening globally, unfortunately, the Parliament, where we uphold democratic values and undertake to make laws for the state, should be protected. I am very pleased that the PSOs do what they do to protect every one of us in this place not only the MPs but all the staff as well and the many visitors who come to visit our Parliament. I just wanted to say in relation to that particular issue I do hope that is not the case and that the PSOs will remain here protecting Parliament, as well as doing the great work they are doing as I think Mr Dalidakis would agree across our rail stations.Mr Dalidakis interjected.
Ms CROZIER I would be happy to start at the top. I was commenting on the very successful program of PSOs that the former coalition government undertookMr Dalidakis interjected.
Ms CROZIER Which you support you do support that, but you did not at the start. I think it was Mr Merlino in the other place who called them plastic policeMs Shing interjected.
Ms CROZIER Correct me if I am wrong, but I am sure it was Mr Merlino who called them plastic police, which was very denigrating.
Nevertheless, let us get back to the report on public safety on Victoria's rail system. As we have got a public train system that is running throughout Victoria, we have got some situations that need addressing, and I cannot let this opportunity go without mentioning sky rail. Today, again, we learn that that part of the level crossing removal program that has been trumpeted by this government in actual fact does not have a business case. It seems extraordinary that a program that will cost multiple billions of dollars does not have a business case. This is a significant project that will affect our public transport system and our rail system, which goes to the safety around those areas where sky rail will run. There are concerns in the community about safety, and it is not only on the trains and around rail stations, it is around the local communities where our trains and our public transport systems are. This government has a lot to answer for when it does not even have a business case for a very significant project of that size and value.