Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (12:43): My constituency question is for the Minister for Housing. My constituent is a single mum with two children, and she resides in one of the North Richmond towers. She observes what she describes as basically a free-for-all of non-residents accessing the building and using the lifts and stairs. This has been affecting her family’s quiet enjoyment, but it has also made her feel very unsafe at times. It seems that security is not checking for residential status and people are just walking in and out freely of her building. The current redevelopment of the foyers presents an opportune time to implement new safety and security measures. So she asks: what security or other changes is the minister planning to address this problem?
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Constituency question 26/5/22
Answered: 15 June 2022
I thank Ms Patten, Member for the Northern Metropolitan Region, for her question and commend her for her commitment to advocating for residents in her electorate.
I take the safety and security of residents in public housing very seriously, and I am deeply concerned about the matters you have raised. While antisocial activity has sadly existed in and around Richmond for decades, more needs to be done to ensure that people are safe and comfortable in their homes and in public spaces.
The Victorian Government continues to invest in a stronger, safer and more inclusive North Richmond for all residents. The 2022-23 State Budget allocated $13 million to enhance public amenity, improve safety and security and place residents at the centre of decision making in the North Richmond precinct. This funding includes $2 million for additional CCTV on the North Richmond public housing estate. The additional cameras will specifically target areas within the residential buildings. The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (the department) will work with on-site security, Victoria Police and the local community to install the cameras in places that deter unauthorised entries and criminal behaviours.
The Victorian Government is upgrading the entry foyers of four of the five public housing buildings. The fifth foyer has already been upgraded. Enhanced safety, security and amenity has underpinned all aspects of the re-design of new foyers. To better manage access into buildings, the new foyers provide improved sightlines between the entrance and the security desk. The new foyer entries will also be expanded to create a greater physical distance between the entry door and lift foyer to assist security staff to manage entry into the building.
An operational protocol exists to respond to unauthorised entry into buildings. On-site security staff work closely with the department and Victoria Police in responding to unauthorised entries. When an unauthorised entry occurs, security guards will request that visitors sign-in and verify whom they are visiting within the premises.
I have asked the department to revisit the operational protocol that is used when unauthorised entries occur. This will improve the collective response of on-site security, the department and Victoria Police. The department will continue to work closely with residents to improve safety and security within the buildings.
Hon Richard Wynne MP
Minister for Housing