Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government) — I recently had the privilege of visiting the Keilor Downs and Caroline Springs police stations to meet with officers and senior officers to talk through improvements to community safety. The Victorian government is improving community safety by making investments where they matter: in police, in legislative change and around prevention and diversion. The Victorian government has funded the biggest boost to police ever, with 3135 new police. Three hundred recently recruited police have finished training, and I am happy to say that 63 new officers have been allocated to the Brimbank and Melton divisions and have been welcomed by those local stations that I recently visited.
We have driven legislative changes with tougher sentences and new standalone, targeted laws for serious crimes like carjacking and home invasion, with hefty penalties. We have banned scrap metal for cash schemes and created new laws against encouraging a minor to commit a crime — targeting both organised crime and car theft. We have also given protective services officers (PSOs) more powers around railway stations and invested in 100 mobile PSOs to target hotspots. We have given police more powers to hold offenders on remand.
The Victorian government is also toughening sentencing and bail laws, including an automatic presumption against bail for serious violent and sex offenders. The Victorian government is not only tough on crime but it is being tough on the underlying causes of crime including unemployment, so skills opportunities have been targeted.