Reports today that the Andrews Labor Government has failed to consult with Victoria Police over the site of Labor’s proposed second safe injecting room is a clear threat to the safety of all Victorians.
Earlier this week it was revealed that the Labor Government was in talks to purchase the $45 million Yooralla building opposite Flinders Street Station, as a potential site for a second safe injecting centre.
Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt has described the Andrews Labor Government’s failure to consult police or the community over this location as “underhanded” and that “the people who will be most impacted are the people who get no say”.
Whilst Daniel Andrews continues to shut police and community out of this program, the North Richmond Injecting Centre continues to be a honeypot for crime with 30 people charged with drug trafficking and possession across Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy during April.
Furthermore, neighbouring Richmond West Primary School was recently sent into lockdown three times in one week, with a dead body found near the school gates and countless reports of anti-social behaviour and public indecency.
In contrast, the successful Kings Cross Injecting Centre in New South Wales has operated for 20 years in an entertainment precinct under a joint Health and Police licence and is responsible for delivering both health and community safety outcomes.
The Andrews Labor Government must listen to the concerns of Victoria Police and the boarder community and fix the current North Richmond Injecting Centre before any further sites are opened.
As stated by Shadow Minister for Police and Crime Prevention, David Southwick:
“A second injecting centre in the wrong place is the last thing our struggling CBD and stretched frontline police need to be dealing with at the moment.
“With ongoing drug trafficking, anti-social behaviour and serious crime at the North Richmond Injecting Centre, the Andrews Labor Government must not proceed with a second site before it has fixed the systemic problems with the first.
“Local police and residents are best positioned to understand the safety concerns of these facilities, so why has the Andrews Labor Government left them out of consultation?”