Thursday 10 March, 2016

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (12:45): I rise today to move:

That this house—

(a) commemorates the 30-year anniversary of Neighbourhood Watch;

(b) congratulates Neighbourhood Watch, which has grown to be the largest not-for-profit crime prevention organisation in the nation;

(c) recognises the hard work and dedication of Australia's police forces and local communities in helping prevent crime; and

(d) encourages all people to continue promoting and fostering cooperation between the community and local policing by developing new technology and strategies to combat crime.

It gives me great pleasure to speak to this motion today. For three decades from 1985 to 2015—and, now, for over three decades—Neighbourhood Watch and their various volunteer groups have served as ears to the ground and eyes for the communities around us. They work side-by-side, of course, with the police in the prevention of crime and also in the reduction of crime.

I have had the pleasure of visiting six Neighbourhood Watch groups in my electorate of Hartley. I would like to pay tribute to not only current coordinators and volunteers but also the volunteers and coordinators who have gone before them for the tremendous amount of work and the countless hours they have given to our community to make it a safer place.

I would like to begin with Felixstow Neighbourhood Watch, ably and aptly led by Mr Dennis Obst and Ray, who are part of an outstanding group in Felixstow. They have fantastic guest speakers who are very engaging. Quite often, the local hall they meet in is packed because the speakers are so good. There is a fantastic community feel and they have a raffle at the end of the night. I note the energy of people like Dennis Obst and Ray, who do a lot for that local group.

One night in particular, they had a retired magistrate come out to detail how sentences are applied and to help the community understand how they work. They have many fantastic guest speakers and many volunteers who work extremely hard to make that particular group work. They also distribute a thorough newsletter. Thank you, Felixstow Neighbourhood Watch.

Kensington Gardens Neighbourhood Watch has recently been revived after being dormant for some years and I would like to thank Miss Elina Dalziel for her hard work in getting that group going again. They meet at St Joseph's Hall, Tranmere. I would like to thank the volunteers who do a wonderful job at Kensington Gardens Neighbourhood Watch.

Neighbourhood Watch Tranmere is, again, one of the groups that has been around for many years. I would like to acknowledge the volunteers who have done a great job over the years in that area. The current coordinator is Ms Judy Black, who has been in our community for a long time and works very hard in that community.

Moving on to Neighbourhood Watch Campbelltown 391, I would like to thank Vern Wensley for the good work that is being done in Campbelltown. Thank you, Vern. In Hectorville Neighbourhood Watch, John Nemcic is a great community member and an asset to our local community who is involved in a number of community groups. Thank you to John and his volunteers in Hectorville for the work they do.

I would also like to recognise Peter Damiani at Magill Neighbourhood Watch. Peter is very thorough. In fact, he only called my office this week. Magill is obviously a growing area where lots of subdivision is happening. One of the issues which is of interest to the Magill Neighbourhood Watch at the moment is the new McNally Training Centre. We want to make sure that residents have their say about what goes there, so Magill Neighbourhood Watch have been in contact with me recently. We want to make sure that the community has a say about what development goes on up there and that they are informed. Obviously, there will be things like traffic issues which a new development of some 300 houses will create.

I thank Peter, his volunteers and his team. They always get a good turnout at Magill Neighbourhood Watch when they meet at the Magill Senior Citizens Centre. Thank you to Peter and the team that also distribute an extremely professional and thorough newsletter. I always learn something when I read their newsletter.

I would also like to acknowledge Sergeant Peter Winter, who for many years has been involved in assisting these Neighbourhood Watch groups. Peter is a crime prevention sergeant in eastern Adelaide and he oversees many of these groups. I sincerely thank Peter for all that he does. He certainly makes the job of these volunteers and these associations much easier: for example, if anyone is ever struggling for numbers, struggling to get speakers or struggling for resources. I commend Sergeant Peter Winter for the wonderful job that he has done over the years and that he continues to do.

We are very fortunate in our area that we have such fantastic volunteers. As in any community, volunteers are certainly the fundamental backbone of our community. Volunteers hold the fabric of society together. The state could not function as a whole without the countless hours, toil and sweat that these volunteers contribute to our community. All these Neighbourhood Watch volunteers and groups do their bit to make sure that our community is a safer place to be in. They serve as the eyes and the ears of South Australian communities, and they work hand in hand and side by side with South Australia Police to prevent and reduce crime.

There are a number of statistics out there that suggest that, when you make people more aware about crimes that exist, obviously people are going to know about it, people are going to know how to report it and people are going to look out for each other. Due to volunteers, amongst other things, going out doorknocking, distributing letters and making this information more readily available for the community, people in our community feel like they are in a safer spot. Also, when the need arises, they come forward and they report incidents to police.

All these groups are fantastic forums to meet new people—wonderful community people who have dedicated many hours and years purely to improve the community, because it is the right thing to do. Helping your neighbour is the right thing to do. I thank all those who are involved in Neighbourhood Watch and I commend this motion to the house. I look forward to the support of all members in the chamber.