March 2013 Update
Coalition Government's Strong Commitment to Law and Order
The Victorian Coalition Government is absolutely committed to a comprehensive program to stop the record rising violence which Victoria suffered over a decade of State Labor. More police on the streets are implementing a tough zero tolerance approach to crime, violence and anti-social behaviour. At the same time major reforms to sentencing in Victoria have been introduced. At the heart of our response to crime and violence is the Coalition Government's plan to implement the biggest increase in police numbers in Victoria's history. We have also implemented a comprehensive and innovative strategy to shut down crime, violence and anti-social behaviour on public transport. Under the Coalition Government's plan for fighting back against crime, violence and anti-social behaviour, Victorians will see by November 2014:
• 1,700 extra police on the street - rollout is ahead of schedule with 1,200 will be deployed by 30 June this year;
• 940 Victoria Police Protective Services Officers on train stations from 6pm to last train every night - as at 19 March, 319 PSO's have been deployed to 38 stations with 390 scheduled to be deployed by 30 June this year;
• tougher sentences for serious offences across the board, including extended supervision orders and detention for all serious offenders;
• statutory minimum sentences for gross acts of violence, including gang attacks; and
• the abolition of suspended sentences and home detention.
Together, these significant reforms signal an end to the soft-on-crime policies of the previous Labor Government, and they send a powerful message to all Victorians that violence, crime and anti-social behaviour will no longer be tolerated. Under the Coalition Government's unprecedented law and order program police and the courts are working together to protect victims, punish offenders and restore justice to Victorians.
Kim Wells MP
Member For Scoresby
1 March 2013
From the Premier, From the Deputy Premier, From the Attorney-General, From the Assistant Treasurer, From the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, From the Minister for Roads
The Victorian Coalition Government will increase funding to improve the state\'s highest risk roads and intersections to $1 billion over the next 10 years.
Premier Ted Baillieu announced today the increase in funding which forms the centrepiece of Victoria\'s new 10-year strategy to drive the next decade of road safety in Victoria.
The strategy includes a four-year plan that outlines priority actions for government across 14 key areas.
"This plan will reinvigorate efforts to reduce the road toll through bold new measures to cement Victoria\'s position as a leader in road safety," Mr Baillieu said.
"While the plan provides the tools for reducing the road toll through enforcement, education and innovation, all Victorians need to play their part.
"Everybody - drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists - has a responsibility to make the right choices because it\'s those choices that will help us reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
"We\'ve had successive record low road tolls in Victoria, but of the 282 people who died on our roads last year, 43 were not wearing seatbelts. That is unbelievable in this day and age.
"The government can introduce new laws, education campaigns and technology to keep road users safe, but ultimately it is up to Victorians to make safe choices," Mr Baillieu said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said the 10-year strategy set an ambitious target to reduce death and serious injuries by more than 30 per cent.
"Meeting this target will bring the annual road toll to less than 200, saving about 80 lives a year," Mr Ryan said.
"The Victorian Government is committed to involving the community in helping to frame the road safety strategy.
"We listened to the views of almost 17,000 Victorians and tested them against evidence from road safety experts and partner agencies including Victoria Police, the TAC, Department of Justice and VicRoads.
"We\'ll continue to engage Victorians in the conversation about road safety because we know that we must all work together if we are to reduce road trauma," Mr Ryan said.
The strategy will see the Coalition Government adopt new enforcement, education and engineering measures to cut the road toll, including:
•Drink driving - expansion of the use of alcohol interlocks to the vehicles of convicted drink drivers;
•Drug driving - a new offence with a tough penalty for driving under the combined influence of alcohol and illicit drugs;
•Speeding - encouraging people to use technologies that alert drivers when speeding;
•Distraction - a major new campaign to educate people on the dangers of driving while distracted and tougher penalties for drivers detected using a mobile phone while driving;
•Pedestrians and cyclists - review of the use of 40km/h zones where the risk of pedestrian or cyclist crashes is high and a new \'black area\' program to provide safer infrastructure where clusters of pedestrian and cyclist crashes occur;
•Country road users - improvement of safety at Victoria\'s regional level crossings and the use of the Motorcycle Blackspot Program on popular touring routes;
•Young drivers - extension of the Fit to Drive program to all Victorian schools and a ban on the use of mobile phones by all P-plate drivers;
•Older road users - simplification of Victoria\'s roads environment and improvement of signage;
•Motorcyclists - introduction of a graduated licensing system for motorcyclists;
•Unlicensed drivers - introduction of requirements for all Victorian drivers and riders to carry their licence when on the road;
•Trucks - trial of fatigue detection technology for truck drivers and introduction of new penalties for tailgating;
•Vehicle safety - trial of in-vehicle warning devices to alert drivers to approaching hazards such as trains approaching level crossings.
Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said the Coalition Government would place new emphasis on severe injuries with the aim of reducing the number of serious injuries on the road from 5,500 to fewer than 3,850.
"Each year thousands of people are permanently maimed, which comes at a terrible cost for these people, their families and the wider community," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"These injuries are the hidden road toll, costing Victoria $2.4 billion each year.
"Developing a serious injuries toll will improve our knowledge of and response to dealing with the most critically injured victims of road trauma. If we reduce deaths but not severe injuries, we have only done part of the job," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the increase in funding for the Safer Roads Infrastructure program would ensure money was targeted to areas where it could have a specific and immediate safety benefit.
"Hundreds of locations around the state will get infrastructure upgrades which will have a significant impact in reducing road trauma," Mr Mulder said.
Safety upgrades are already underway on 82 projects in Melbourne and across the State, at a cost of $57 million (2012/13) under the current SRIP. This will be boosted immediately by $20 million which will be utilised this financial year for an additional 38 projects.
To read Victoria\'s Road Safety Strategy 2013-22, the Road Safety Action Plan 2013-16, and the results from the Road Safety Survey, go to the new website www.roadsafety.vic.gov.au
Speeding, dangerous driving and drug or alcohol-affected drivers will be targeted in a major Victoria Police operation this Labour Day long weekend.
Victoria's long-running Crime Stoppers program has continued to demonstrate its value with calls from the public recording a 9.3 per cent increase last year, resulting in a record 1,115 arrests.
I welcome the appointment of Stephen Griffin as Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and the Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Bushfire Response Kim Wells today announced that low-interest concessional loans have now been made available to eligible primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations affected by the February 2014 bushfires.
The Victorian Coalition Government will match last year's record funding for a key grants program that assists emergency services volunteers purchase extra tools and equipment they need to keep the community safe.
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