Page 820 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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of the last campaign, I had the opportunity to attend a combined meeting up in Gungahlin of some of the Neighbourhood Watch groups. It was very well attended, very well supported, with a lot of focus on issues, particularly in relation to the unsatisfactory state of the police presence there, but it was indicative of the feeling of people who are willing to get out and get involved and express their concerns.

I would like to publicly acknowledge the work that the committee is doing in Isaacs, particularly their outstanding performance in their first year of operation. It was very impressive to go to the Isaacs shops where they were meeting with members of the community and see how enthusiastic all the different people were.

Recognition should also be given to Karen Rush Real Estate, which has been providing a deal of assistance through sponsorship of the Isaacs Neighbourhood Watch committee. Community support by means of sponsorship from other local businesses or similar is very important and valuable to the operation of these sorts of voluntary committees. The time people give up is recognised, I think, by all members of the Assembly. I hope that it is fully appreciated. I know sometimes those involved in Neighbourhood Watch reach a sense of frustration that there is a handful doing the work, but I think the silent majority does appreciate what they are doing, I know most of us read the newsletters that come into our neighbourhoods and I think we should give all the support and encouragement we can toward the work of the Neighbourhood Watch in Isaacs.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (5.18): I appreciate my colleague Mr Mulcahy moving this motion today to praise the efforts of Neighbourhood Watch in Isaacs. Neighbourhood Watch is one of the most effective and most successful crime prevention initiatives in Australia. Behind it lies a simple idea and a central value shared by people within a neighbourhood. Today we are talking about Neighbourhood Watch at Isaacs, but not exclusively. We have seen recently the reinvigoration of Neighbourhood Watch in Curtin. Unfortunately, I had the sad task of attending the final meeting at Fisher, which was a little disappointing. If there are any budding Neighbourhood Watch people in the Fisher community, we hope that they will start to reinvigorate that particular branch.

Building a neighbourhood together that aims to combat local crime and a place where people feel safe and secure is the key message that Neighbourhood Watch sends. Everybody knows that the police are there to fight crime, but they also need people to remain vigilant in order to help them to do an effective job. Neighbourhood Watch is all about an active partnership with police. Neighbourhood Watch schemes can cut crime and the opportunities for crime, help reassure those who live in the community and encourage neighbourliness and closer ties within communities. Indeed, Mr Mulcahy has mentioned many aspects of that within the Isaacs community that are certainly indicative of the efforts there to build a stronger sense of community.

Neighbourhood Watch is not just about reducing crime figures. It is about creating communities that care and bring people together, thereby encouraging an environment where we can all make a real contribution to improving our lives. Such vigorous activity of Neighbourhood Watch members can foster a new community spirit and a belief in the community’s ability to tackle problems. At the same time, you feel secure knowing your neighbours are keeping an eye out for you. We have a prime opportunity in the way that Canberra is set up to be able to run Neighbourhood Watch schemes very effectively.

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