Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (17:59): My adjournment matter is directed to the honourable Natalie Hutchins, Minister for Crime Prevention, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Youth Justice and Minister for Victim Support. This adjournment matter relates to the portfolio responsibilities of crime prevention. Applications are now open for grants under the building safer communities program to support innovative approaches to address the causes of offending, crime and community safety. The grants aim to tackle the root causes of crime and will be available for communities to invest in innovative crime prevention projects. Western Metropolitan Region is one of the fastest growing regions in Victoria. Many not-for-profit community organisations and specialist organisations in the area are working towards delivering innovative community safety and crime prevention initiatives.
These organisations will receive significant aid through this program. There are two streams available for the grants. Stream 1, creating safer places, is open for council urban design projects to apply an inclusive environmental design approach to deter crime, increase safety and activate public places. Stream 2, the Crime Prevention Innovation Fund, is open for councils and not-for-profit organisations to test new partnership approaches to address crime and community safety issues, build capability within the community and contribute to the crime prevention evidence base. The grants will close at 4.00 pm on 15 March 2021. I believe that this is a great opportunity to actualise innovative new programs and initiatives to address the root causes of crime in the community.
The action I seek from the minister is that she provide me with an update about what the department is doing to promote this important initiative to the councils and community groups in the Western Metropolitan Region.
The Andrews Labor Government is addressing the root cause of crime with our Building Safer Communities program.
This program was funded with $11 million through 2020-21 State Budget. It includes a series of community forums, competitive grants, and targeted investment in communities where there are opportunities to respond to the factors that can increase crime.
The program empowers and invests in the communities with whom we partner. Together we are building projects that get to the causes of crime.
We’ve held three Building Sager Communities forums in the Western Metropolitan region so far, focused on Brimbank, Hume and Melton. These have provided a fantastic opportunity to hear from community members, young people, police, community organisations and councils about concerns and exciting ideas for improvement. We’re building on these forums by developing projects in partnership with the community. Further forums will be held later this year.
We have run our first round of Building Safer Communities grants earlier this year – applications closed on 15 March 2021 and are being assessed. Councils and community organisations can apply for funding between $25000-$300,000 to deliver innovative local crime prevention initiatives. A second round will be run in 2022.
The grants were promoted through the department’s extensive communications channels, including:
- Direct email to over 1,100 councils, organisations and individuals who subscribe to the department’s Crime Prevention newsletter ‘In Focus’
- The Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary promoting the program via key representative groups such as LGPro, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), meetings of the Metropolitan Partnerships and the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Neighborhood Watch and Crime Stoppers as well as via Victoria Police and the department’s regions
- Social media announcements.
The department also held an online information session on 9 February 2021 which was attended by over 250 people interested in applying for the grants. The members for Broadmeadows and Parliamentary Secretary for Crime Prevention, Frank McGuire, opened this session.
I look forward to announcing successful projects for the first round of the program in coming months.