The decision by the Victorian Government to withdraw funding to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council is a disgrace. It was never my intention in this blog to raise political matters, other than my small involvement in the removal of Fire Service Levy’s across Australia, which continues until such time as Tasmania sees the light.
Having said this, the decision by the Victorian Government, under Robin Scott the Acting Minister for Police, to remove funding to the national motor vehicle theft reduction council cannot go without comment. Night after night the television news has scenes of cars been broken into. In the last month or so in our office we have had one person’s car broken into while parked in front of their home and another witness his neighbour being bashed and his car stolen right in front of his home as he left for work. Three cars in my residential street have been broken into at night, while a number of cars around our office have been broken into in broad daylight.
This whole issue is much greater than cars just being broken into. There is evidence that 4 wheel drives and earth moving equipment are being stolen and shipped to the Middle East to war zones or to war recovery zones. The number of high value cars that are never recovered is also on the increase. Here, it is my understanding that many of these are being put into shipping containers and sent overseas, under the false label of ‘car parts’. As I say above, it is not just motor vehicles but also mobile plant and machinery, particularly earth moving equipment that is being stolen. There is also the strong possibility that the funds from these criminal activities is in part being used to fund or at least aid overseas terrorist activities. The seriousness of this whole issue cannot be overstated.
It is certainly more than just a few teenagers going for a joy ride, rather it is organised crime which appears to have extended its tentacles into some tow truck operations, panel shops and when you bring in staged traffic accidents, some dubious law firms. It is a huge issue that effects all Victorians in some way even if you are not a direct victim, it does potentially mean higher motor insurance and CTP premiums.
Let us put this into perspective. We are not talking about millions of dollars in savings. The amount of the Victorian Government’s contribution was $300,000 per year. If we say the approximate population of Victoria is 6 million, we are talking about each of us contributing 5 cents towards reducing the theft of motor vehicles. I repeat, 5 cents per person.
Rather than the funding being cut, which I might add, is matched dollar for dollar by the insurance industry, meaning the Council loses $600,000, the funding should have in fact been increased in line with the growing increase in the crime rate and community concern.
To learn more about what the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council does, I would refer you to the open letter from David Morgan’s, Chairman of the Council to Mr Robin Scott, acting Minister for Police – see here.
Please note that I am not involved in any way with the Council but simply and passionately feel, on what I know of the work of this Council, that the benefit to the community far outweighs the cost of the funding.
John Locke, the great 17th Century English philosopher believed that the primary role of government is to protect individual life, liberty, and property. My own view is that nothing has changed and that by failing to provide adequate police and funding to organisations such as the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, the current Victorian government is failing in its primary duty to the citizens of Victoria.
The question that keeps coming into my mind is: if taking away the funding to the Council and not supporting the genuine and reasonable requests of the police for additional staffing, funding, and further support to reduce the number of motor vehicle and machinery thefts including car jackings, and crime in general, is not helping the citizens of Victoria, who is benefiting and who is the Government protecting by turning a blind eye and cutting this vital funding?