Mandurah councillors approve summit to address anti-social behaviour

Mandurah District Senior Sergeant Darren Hart and Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.
Mandurah District Senior Sergeant Darren Hart and Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

A summit aimed at addressing anti-social behaviour in the city centre has been approved by City of Mandurah councillors, following a recent spate of crime.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams raised a notice of motion at the council meeting on June 25 for Mandurah to host businesses, government leaders and residents to develop an action plan around community safety.

The news comes after a number of serious and high-profile incidents earlier this month including themugging of a 13-year-old boy, who was allegedly bashed and his watch stolen, and the assault of a 71-year-old man setting up his fresh produce stall on Smart Street mall.

A Greenfields man was also accused of allegedly stabbing another young man in a fight outside Norma Jeans nightclub during the weekend crime surge.

Mr Williams told councillors at Tuesday's meeting it was time for the relevant agencies to come together and decide on a collaborative approach to tackling violence.

"You would be well aware of the fact that we are about to invest $22 million from ourselves, state and federal government contributions to the revitalisation, the transformation of our waterways," he said.

"We are spending half-a-million dollars a year or more in relation to the activation of our city centre and investing unprecedented dollars in the economic development agenda within our city.

"That will be undermined if we don't get the attention that we rightly deserve from agencies outside of Mandurah.

"We need to have leaders come together and have a clear understanding, clear expectations and clear accountabilities of other government agencies and ministers, of members of parliament and those people who have a role to play."

Mr Williams asked for councillors' endorsement of the motion, which had to be carried by an absolute majority because of a note of expenditure for the summit.

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It was met with unanimous support from councillors, including Cr Merv Darcy who seconded the motion.

Cr Shane Jones and Cr Darren Lee also threw their support behind the summit.

"Given some of the current recent events, maybe we should've done this earlier," Cr Jones said.

"It's time to do something about what is happening in our city centre," Cr Lee added.

In an interview with the Mandurah Mail, Mr Williams mentioned a number of projects the City had already implemented to address anti-social behaviour.

These included the Mandurah Liquor Accord, the city centre redevelopment project and activation team, increased CCTV and a Memorandum of Understanding with police.

"Council has really been trying to do as much as it possibly can and I think we're really punching above our weight in terms of the progress that we've made in the city centre," he said.

"But it is a challenge and these things do take time. We shouldn't pretend to have all of the answers but we also recognise there is only so much we can do.

"We have really strong partnerships with other agencies but this about a round table, getting people together and being clear about what our collective expectations are for us to be able to really drive change."

I don't want this to be a talk fest.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams

Mr Williams said council would now discuss the finer details of the summit, including who to invite.

"The next step is about beginning the engagement process with those stakeholders and it takes a little bit of time to do the planning because we want to get the right people around the table," he said.

"I don't want this to be a talk fest.

"To be able to achieve what we need here, which is drawing a line in the sand on these issues and having a suitable plan to address them, we need the right people around the table so now we will go out and start engaging with those stakeholders."

Mandurah District Senior Sergeant Darren Hart said the City of Mandurah and local police had a "comprehensive and positive working relationship".

"I think we all work pretty well together to reduce the risk of violent incidents," he said.

"Every now and then someone behaves badly but we have a pretty good track record of rounding them up and putting them before the courts.

"We have a lot of shared goals in reducing the opportunity to commit offences, reducing all types of crime."