Community safety fears realised as violent offender walks free

State Member for Maroochydore has called on the Government to act now to introduce tougher penalties for alcohol-fuelled violence following another senseless attack on the Sunshine Coast where the offender walked free.

Fiona Simpson MP spoke in Parliament today about the recent incident in Ocean Street, asking for the Government to urgently fund measures to ensure the safety of the public in popular night spot in Maroochydore.

Ms Simpson said that the Sunshine Coast community has been shocked by the video footage of another violent attack on our streets and is asking how the attacker has walked free from Court with a suspended sentence, less than a week after another violent assault on the Gold Coast.

“Violence in our streets, or anywhere, is simply unacceptable,” Ms Simpson said. 
“The community is calling for appropriate consequences for offenders and tougher penalties to deter people from this senseless violence.

Ms Simpson said that she had informed the Attorney-General that the situation in Ocean Street was becoming urgent following the Labor Government’s scrapping of funding for the LNP’s Safe Night Out Strategy.

“The LNP Government provided funding for the Safe Night Out Strategy and was working with stakeholders to put plans in place to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence,” Ms Simpson said.

“Unfortunately these plans have been put on hold since the new Government took office.

“This Labor Government scrapped $24 million in Safe Night Out funding over three years in the State Budget and we are still waiting to hear what their alternative plan is to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence.

“It is simply irresponsible to scrap one plan to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence without providing an alternative.

“The LNP introduced tougher measures to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence but these have
been put on hold since the change of Government.

Ms Simpson said that local taxi operators have described the Ocean Street taxi rank as a ticking bomb, expressing concerns that there will be major incident in busiest precinct on Coast before Christmas.

“It’s the busiest rank on the Sunshine Coast but it does not have a security guard or taxi marshal on duty to help people safely leave the area.” Ms Simpson said.

“Moving people out of a precinct in a timely way at closing time is a critical to ensuring people can go out, have fun and keep safe.”

“The rapid growth in popularity of the Maroochydore entertainment precinct has meant that more people than ever before are using the Ocean Street taxi rank and the situation is becoming critical.”

“The Local Safe Night Board has put in a funding application for taxi marshal and security guard but they have been told that funding is on hold with no indication of when funding round will open.

“Again, it is simply unacceptable for Labor to scrap a well thought out plan which was in the early stages of being implemented without providing any alternative.

“The Police Minister was on the Sunshine Coast in May promising that funding would be released but we are still waiting.

“I have a meeting this week with the Attorney-General and the Sunshine Coast Safe Night Precinct Board to ask for urgent funding to be released to ensure the safety of the public in popular night spot in Maroochydore.

“Local stakeholders are trying to do the right thing to keep people safe but they are being given the run around by this Government.

“Sadly, we have witnessed another violent incident here while public safety measures have been left in limbo by this Government.

“It’s simply not good enough.

“We need action by this Government now to so we can do everything possible to ensure that people can go out, have fun and keep safe.”

Click here to read Fiona's Matter of Public Interest Speech - 13.10.15 201510131305.pdf


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