Mr O’BRIEN (Malvern) — I raise a matter for the Minister for Public Transport. The action I seek is for the safety at Malvern railway station to be improved by upgrading it to premium status so that the station is staffed seven days a week from the first train until the last.
As members would be aware, Malvern station was the site of a horrific attack on the evening of Thursday, 2 September. A passenger on a Frankston-bound train dared to glare at a pair of youths who were smoking on the train. When the passenger left the train at Malvern station at around 9.40 p.m., the two youths called four others to join them, and they set about bashing this 38-year-old victim on the station platform. He was dragged to the ground by this gang and viciously assaulted — he was kicked and punched and suffered swelling, bruising and cuts. These thugs were so brazen that they did not even bother to disguise their identities as they made their escape.
The Herald Sun of 3 September quoted acting superintendent Nigel Howard, a 34-year police veteran, as saying:
‘It is not something that we should have happen in society,’ …
‘When you see fights where people are putting the boots in, particularly around the head region, the
injuries it could cause are life-threatening.’
This assault highlights that security on our public transport system is desperately inadequate. Malvern station is staffed only from 6.30 a.m. until 9.00 a.m. from Monday to Friday, which means packs of young thugs are able to move in at other times with no deterrent in the shape of uniformed officers.
Train operator Metro Trains Melbourne’s CEO, Andrew Lezala, was quoted in the Herald Sun. It reports:
Mr Lezala said he would welcome more unarmed authorised officers on the network …
‘I personally would like to see a number of hundreds more if possible,’ he said.
The state government’s policy and Metro’s policy is to have bureaucrats with biros handing out tickets. It does not want to see cops with cuffs and the power of arrest or the power to be able to protect people who ride the transport system. That is why in the interim I am calling for an upgrade of Malvern station to premium status so that it is staffed from the first train to the last. I really want to see the coalition’s policy implemented. I want to see two Victoria Police protective services officers on every single metropolitan train station from nightfall until the last train, seven days a week. If those people had been there on 2 September, that poor man would not have gone through what he went through. For the government to say that the transport system is safe and that our policy is wrong and for Andrew Lezala to make that same claim shows how out of touch this long-term tired and arrogant government is.
People are getting bashed and beaten on our public transport system. We have a policy that will restore safety and security back to the system. Before 27 November comes, the minister should upgrade Malvern station to premium status.