Page 819 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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Some of the outcomes that have been achieved through Isaacs Neighbourhood Watch include matters that I suppose in earlier days in my life would have rested more with a progress association, but it seems that the nature of some of the Neighbourhood Watch groups is that they have extended into taking on interests and issues that impact on the community that extend beyond just issues of property and crime and other crime-related matters. I understand that they are responsible for the erection of some 27 street signs throughout the suburb. They have embarked on ensuring that a number of house numbers are painted on gutters. This is of benefit not only to residents and taxis, but also to emergency services. More than 100 homes have benefited from those efforts.

They have successfully conducted two information expos and two community meetings. The expos have involved inviting a number of organisations to come and speak with the Isaacs community on various issues. Organisations and services present included the Australian Federal Police community service division, the ACT fire service and several security companies offering advice and services on safety measures and general security around the home and neighbourhood. From my recollection of visiting one of their events, they have also secured some sponsorship support from one of those security firms. That is a commendable contribution to the community.

An annual meeting has also been held and the speakers at that meeting included Constable Jason Van de Kamp from the AFP traffic division and a representative from the community liaison advisory safety project. Close links have also been established with ACT community policing. This is vital to the operation of the committee and is most valuable, should assistance be required from the police.

A newsletter has been produced. One came out the other day and some of you may have received it. This is now being distributed monthly to residents in Isaacs. Assistance has also been provided from Isaacs to ensure the re-establishment of the Mawson Neighbourhood Watch committee, and I think that is indicative of how responsible and caring communities know how and when to lend a hand. I know there has also been very good cooperation from the O’Malley Neighbourhood Watch group who have been very active in the neighbourhood as well.

A safety house program has been established in Isaacs. As many would know, this has been a longstanding program in Australia that has been quite successful and is particularly beneficial for our younger citizens. In most recent times the committee also participated in the Clean Up Australia Day activity that was also supported by many members of this Assembly and others throughout our community. The concerns of the Isaacs Neighbourhood Watch committee and the community generally stretch far and wide. Real pride is taken in the maintenance and care of the neighbourhood as well and, as I indicated, their brief has now been extended to matters that are not simply confined to property crime, although that is obviously their primary brief.

Neighbourhood Watch is a voluntary organisation and often the hard work of committee members is forgotten or not even recognised in the first place. Without these caring members of the community, many safety and security issues within neighbourhoods would go unaddressed and could ultimately lead to harmful and damaging consequences. There would be greater pressures on the police in terms of resources if we did not have the voluntary support of these groups around Canberra. Indeed, in the very early stages

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