Ms RYALL (Ringwood) — The Ringwood court is bursting at the seams with such a backlog of cases with criminals out on bail for up to eight months before they are brought to account for their actions. It is no coincidence that a cut of 12 per cent in frontline police in Maroondah — a reduction of 14 officers — under this government and a more than 10 per cent increase in crime are occurring in our backyard. The backlog due to inadequate resourcing, a failure to address the huge, increased caseload of the court and a softening of bail laws by the Premier are creating risks to people and property in my community. These are risks that are preventable, risks that should be managed and fixed by the Attorney-General immediately.
The court officers do an excellent job but are hamstrung by a government that is not adequately resourcing our court to promptly deal with the crime wave sweeping the outer east. Why should a criminal be free to roam the streets for months on end without being held accountable for their actions? Maroondah has seen a 46 per cent increase in sexual offences in the last 12 months and big increases in burglary, drugs, assault, weapons and explosives offences. Criminals must be brought to account promptly and punishment meted out accordingly. What message is this government sending to criminals and those thinking about committing crimes? What message is it sending to my community as to why resident safety is not a priority of this government? The time to act is now; this cannot wait. The Attorney-General must significantly increase the resources of the Ringwood court and put the safety of my community first.