Friends of the G21 region,
e-News provides you with a sense of the important issues, activities and proposed projects within the G21 region.
Perceptions are hard to change
Public safety is important. So too are perceptions formed about public safety.
A united voice in Canberra
A recent ugly incident in central Geelong, in the mall or its surrounds, has attracted local and national media attention.
The negative perception of Geelong from such high-profile media coverage is quick to form, but hard to dispel. Negative images stick in people’s heads.
The fact that crime in the Geelong mall and surrounds has decreased over recent years has been lost among the ‘noise’ from media and the public about this and other isolated incidents.
In 2010 crime reported in the mall and surrounds represented 0.39% of Geelong’s total crime. By 2014 that had decreased to 0.23%. And 45% of crime reported in 2014 was police-detected.
Calls for police assistance in the mall and surrounds also reduced substantially over recent years; from 2.44% of Geelong’s total calls in 2010, down to 0.65% in 2014.
That’s not to say the incident recently reported wasn’t serious, and shouldn’t be dealt with. It was serious and is being dealt with through the justice system.
In addition, a sub-committee under the G21 Regional Justice Reference Group has been tasked by the Police Minister, the Hon Wade Noonan, to examine the complex social, law enforcement and logistical issues impacting on the mall and its surrounds.
As well as G21, the sub-committee includes the Victoria Police, the City of Greater Geelong and various state government departments including Justice and Regulation, Public Transport, Health and Human Services, and Education and Training.
Their task is to develop strategies which continue the good work that has been done over recent years by the police and the City of Greater Geelong, among others, to improve the mall environment for all users.
Realistically, however, isolated incidents in the mall are the public display of wider social issues which need to be addressed. That’s why the sub-committee includes people from a diverse range of departments and agencies with a wide range of professional expertise.
In doing its work the sub-committee must be mindful of identifying medium to longer-term measures to help address wider underlying community problems.
Everybody on the sub-committee understands the magnitude of the challenge.
In the meantime, not only must the Geelong mall and its surrounds be functional and safe for members of the public, it must be perceived as such.
Sadly, despite the improving statistics, perceptions will prove the hardest to change.
The G21 Board makes an annual visit to Canberra as part of its on-going advocacy program on behalf of the G21 priority projects needing support across the region.
Next month, two tightly packed days of meetings will see board members catching up with government ministers, shadow ministers and key advisers.
Among the many politicians the G21 Board will meet with this year are: Prime Minister Tony Abbott; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure & Regional Development, Warren Truss; Minister for Industry, Ian MacFarlane; Minister for Small Business, Bruce Bilson; the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten; the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen; and the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Anthony Albanese.
In past years the visit has proven particularly effective at drawing attention to specific needs within the region, so they were front-of-mind when it came to crucial decision making.
Politicians welcome the opportunity to meet with G21 board members because they know they represent the united voice of five municipalities and many businesses and community organisations from across the G21 region.
Your place in 'Our Place'
Have you secured your place in ‘Our Place – the Geelong region magazine’ for 2015 yet?
The magazine is a joint initiative of G21 and the Geelong Advertiser. It has a 12-month shelf life and is used by many businesses and organisations to promote the amazing people and the lifestyle of the G21 region.
We’re soon to close off bookings, and space is now limited, so don’t miss your spot. A prospectus can be viewed by clicking here.