By Ian Neubauer
The City of Melbourne has announced a City Safety Summit to combat alcohol-related violence, anti-social behaviour and crime with a range of measures to improve city safety.
The announcement follows the violent deaths of two young men at licensed premises in the city over the weekend and the conclusion of a largely unpopular 2:00am trial lockout that is said to have exacerbated problems in the Victorian capital.
Making matters worse, an announcement that Victoria Police would patrol the violence-plagued CBD in costly Hummer all-terrain vehicles has lowered stakeholder confidence in the Brumby Administration’s ability to improve public safety to all an all-time low.
The Summit will likely include various agencies with interest and influence — including police, the Liquor Licensing Commission, ambulance and emergency services, and industry groups like the Association of Liquor Licensees Melbourne, who claim they have been blacklisted by the Brumby Government.
Melbourne Lord Mayor John So said coordination between these parties was key to improving safety in the City.
“Venue operators, licensing authorities, law enforcement and government must all work together to ensure safety on the streets of Melbourne,” he said. “We will be also be asking for a steering committee to be convened to develop an action plan focused on city safety and amenity around licensed venues in the City.”
An initial recommendation to impose a 12-month moratorium on planning approvals for licensed venues accommodating more than 300 patrons has been withdrawn. However a series of initiatives, aimed at directly tackling safety have been unanimously endorsed. They include:
• Asking the Brumby Government to fund and direct Victoria Police to increase its numbers by at least 25 officers from midnight to 5:00am on Fridays and Saturdays
• Asking the Ministers for Police and Consumer Affairs to convene a steering committee with the City and the Melbourne Licensees Forum to develop an action plan for city safety and amenity
• Asking the Victorian Taxi Directorate to examine the potential of flat fare zones for taxi services during peak periods
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