MELINA BATH (Eastern Victoria) (17:41): (53) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Police the Honourable Anthony Carbines in the other place. It relates unfortunately to a rise in youth-related violence within Central Gippsland and more specifically in the Latrobe Valley and its impact on the community and indeed local traders. The action I seek is for the deployment of extra protective services officers – PSOs as we know them – to include areas of high-risk locations within the scope of their designated workplace. We know that PSOs came about in 2012 and were very well received. It was a Nationals and Liberals idea back then to support the police in the good work that they do in terms of safety on the public transport system. Since that time PSOs have been an integral part of our Victorian communities in terms of bolstering safety. Indeed we have them in Parliament as well, and I thank them very much for the work that they do.
As part of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Police and Other Matters) Bill that passed in 2022 we had a situation where PSOs could be expanded onto police premises in order to provide extra support and protection. What I am asking for – and indeed it was actually a policy of ours in the previous Parliament – is to have them stationed at key hotspots or points. Indeed my constituent who is a local youth worker – and I thank him for his services – often attends the Traralgon police station late at night to pick up the pieces, and these are his comments in terms of his clients and these young people who have alleged serious offences, even to the point of knife attacks and forms of assault.
It is very important that PSOs are on our railway stations and in our transport hubs, but certainly our community feels that this is an important area that needs to be addressed in terms of accessing some of those retail outlets and some of our larger centres. It could occur. It should occur. At the moment we only have five PSOs to work in that area. I think there should be – and this gentleman thinks certainly that there should be – a far greater deployment of them into areas where we can minimise disruptive and socially aggressive behaviour. I call for a greater deployment of PSOs.