Serious Offenders Bill 2018

Mr J. BULL (Sunbury) (18:50:46) — I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Serious Offenders Bill 2018. I am aware there are other members wishing to contribute to the bill, so I will keep my remarks reasonably brief. Every Victorian has the right to be safe. Every Victorian has the right to go about their daily life within their local community knowing that they are safe and that those whom they love and care for are safe as well. This government understands that serious offenders are a significant risk to the community and of course must be treated accordingly. They must be treated appropriately by a system that relies on sound advice from experts. This of course results in a safer community but also, most importantly, what we all strive for, which is a better system.

The Serious Offenders Bill 2018 is part of the Andrews Labor government’s $390 million investment to overhaul the post-sentence scheme and to expand it to include serious violent offenders who pose an unacceptable risk of reoffending at the end of their sentence. What we know is that the scheme already applies to serious sex offenders and allows courts to make orders for the continued detention of an offender and to impose a rigorous supervision requirement, which can include things such as electronic monitoring, curfews, exclusion zones and other conditions that can be placed on particular individuals. Serious violent offenders captured under the new scheme include those convicted of murder, manslaughter, child homicide, causing serious injury intentionally in circumstances of gross violence, causing serious injury recklessly in circumstances of gross violence, causing serious injury recklessly or intentionally, kidnapping and arson causing death.

We know, as other speakers have mentioned this evening, that expanding the scheme was a key recommendation of the Harper review, led by the Honourable David Harper, a Supreme Court justice. The review was commissioned after the tragic death of a 17-year-old girl at the hands of a serious sex offender. What we know is that the primary purpose of this bill is to better protect our community. As I mentioned earlier in my contribution, each and every Victorian should be entitled to that and to know they can go about their working lives and daily lives while living in their local communities safe and protected from those who want to do others harm.

The bill overhauls and expands the existing post-sentence scheme. The post-sentence scheme allows for the ongoing supervision or detention of serious offenders who pose that ongoing, unacceptable risk to the community. If you move within your local community, you know that this bill will be very well supported, and I note that it has the support of those opposite. The bill of course facilitates the treatment and rehabilitation of serious offenders who are placed on supervision or detention orders.

The post-sentence scheme assures that offenders on supervision orders must comply with a range of conditions as determined by the court when making the order. Conditions cover matters such as where the offender must live, who the offender has contact with, the activities the offender may undertake or in some cases not undertake, participation in various treatment programs, drug testing and electronic monitoring. Supervision orders are made by the County Court or Supreme Court, and they can be made for up to 15 years and renewed for a further period of 15 years.

What we know is that the Andrews Labor government has made the single biggest investment in Victoria Police in the state’s history, with a 20 per cent increase to the force — over 3000 new police. This bill moves further to overhaul the post-sentence scheme. It is incredibly important to ensure that people are protected and that for those who commit some of the worst crimes we have a system whereby the state is able to monitor these people as they move back into the community and try to integrate back into the community. What is important of course is that it is done in a safe way, and I commend the bill to the house.