Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Member for Bass
Local retailers have joined forces with Police and Cityprom, launching an initiative in Launceston this morning which I was pleased to have been invited to attend.
Property crime has risen in Launceston and surrounds by 60 per cent on this time last year, and that is unacceptable for a city where retailers and small business are already struggling to make ends meet.
Substance abuse is believed to be the main driver of property crime in the North, as people struggling with methamphetamine addiction turn to stealing, burglary and robbery to fund their habit.
The Launceston Retail Partnership is a fantastic example of the community coming together and advocating for its own needs. The steering committee for this programme has shown strong leadership in developing a framework for the multi store ban for offenders as well as linking to the Safe Haven programme, offering refuge to those seeking it.
We need to work together as a community to address some of issues facing small businesses in Launceston. It is clear from the amount of empty shops in Launceston that turning a profit in business is tough enough without factoring in the financial burden of theft.
The Liberals have been promising to grow and strengthen small business around the State since well before the Election last year, and yet appear to have very little concern for the business owners already established.
The steering committee has members from various sides of politics, and I am pleased to see that we can work together when it’s really necessary. But, the question still remains of how crime and anti-social behaviour fuelled by ‘ice’ addiction will be tackled in the long term.
I call on local Member for Bass and Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson, to step up and focus on how collaboration for collective impact, including drug prevention strategies, treatment and rehabilitation, can work alongside law enforcement to tackle the issue, rather than leaving retailers, and a Police force with limited resources, to carry the burden.