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SSC Newspaper : December 2012
Strathfield Scene 3 news www.ourstrathfield.com.au By Bernadette Chua P olice and Strathfield Council’s community safety officer are taking to classrooms to warn youth against displays of designer gear and excessive use of electronic devices in a bid to halt street crime. Expensive phones like the iPhone and Blackberry are being targeted by thieves, pushing the areas around Strathfield Station to number one in the state for stealing from a person. As parents consider Christmas gifts – certain to include electronic devices like music players, phones and games – the message from police is to behave sensibly, keep it safe, keep it yours. Enter the Keep Safe and Thinking Smart Forums, developed by Strathfield Council in partnership with NSW police. Strathfield Council community safety officer Jacob Stewart told students at St Patrick’s College in a recent forum: “The reality is you guys are going to get bored getting to and from school but we are trying to encourage you not to spend a lot of time talking on your phones and, if you do, keep time to a minimum. Also, don’t be loud as you can draw attention to yourself.” The Scene spent several hours watching St Patrick’s College students being tutored by Stewart along with Auburn police’s Youth Liaison Officer, Gabriella DiMarino. During this time it appeared sometimes hard to convince a generation brought up wanting to show off their branded goods to the world to go easy. But the kids aren’t being told to give up their electronics altogether. “There are lots of ways young people can be smarter so they don’t become victims of theft,” says Stewart. “It’s silly to think they’ll never listen Students told: stay off the phone to avoid thieves to their iPod or not talk on the phone.” DiMarino adds: “Every scenario is different and it’s good to know how to handle each situation. It’s basic things like awareness we try and drill into the students. The strategy is aimed at 15 and 16-year-olds, and is timely given they are most prone to robbery-related crimes during the holidays. “School holidays are coming up and gangs are well aware that kids have electronic valuables on them and are distracted by whatever is going on around them,” says DiMarino. And what do the students think? St Patrick’s College student, Michael Murdocca says the talk with the police and council will better equip him in the future if he was ever in a tough situation. “I feel unsafe being on the street, and I’ve heard of my friends being victims and having their mobile phones stolen.” DiMarino says it is important kids can feel like there is someone at the police or at Strathfield Council they can speak to if they are attacked. “It’s about creating a contact point between students and parents with the council and police officers,” she affirms. “We want to build a relationship with the kids so they don’t just see us as law enforcers, but people who can help them.” Town centre plan stuck in the slow lane St Patrick’s College student Michael Murdocca learns how to protect himself from thieves from Auburn police’s Gabriella DiMarino. By Peter Lynch With the Liberal State Government’s infrastructure policies under attack over delays, Strathfield MP Charles Casuscelli had this message for residents awaiting the fate of a Town Centre redevelopment: “All good things come to those who wait...” He conceded three inquiries, one of which he is chairing, could mean the important multi-billion dollar plan could be delayed by a year. But he insisted he was “comfortable” with the pace, adding: “I will be able to look people in the face and say: ‘No-one could have done this quicker.’” Casuscelli, who chairs the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, championed the underground bus- rail interchange during his election campaign in March, bringing in Treasurer Mike Baird and promising to push for a fast track. Since the election, however, Premier Barry O’Farrell has ordered a review of infrastructure schemes for a transport masterplan, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has briefed consultants to examine bus- rail interchanges statewide and Casuscelli is inquiring into the use of air space above stations, which could deliver a $2.5 billion revenue bonus from developers to the state. All three investigations impact the Strathfield Town Centre plan timing. Casuscelli maintains the Transport Minister could approve funding for detailed planning of the Strathfield scheme whenever she liked. But he conceded this was unlikely. Treasurer Mike Baird agreed, telling The Scene in an exclusive statement: “Transport for NSW is currently undertaking a review into the way stations are selected for easy access upgrades, commuter car parks, transport interchanges and general station upgrades to ensure the best possible outcome for customers and communities. “ We will ensure upgrades benefit the most customers and this will be included in our consideration of the Strathfield proposal.” Casuscelli told The Scene: “I am comfortable the proper course of action is to await the outcome of the review of that consultancy.” He also said because Strathfield’s planning was advanced, it was in a good position for selection. And said his own inquiry, which provided for development above railways lines and within 300 metres of railway stations, making such schemes lucrative for developers as well as encouraging commuter traffic and amenities like daycare close to rail hubs, could benefit Strathfield. “This will deliver a revenue stream to government to reinvest in transport infrastructure ,” he pointed out. Casuscelli said funding for the next stage of the Strathfield plan – $600,000 to create a detailed masterplan – was now in the hands of the Transport Minister and her Charles Casuscelli (left) and Mike Baird in March. finishing her review of the state’s bus- rail interchanges. He said he had not heard of concern from Strathfield about delays, but conceded: “The bottom line is this is caught up in the broader bus-rail interchange issue across the network and the people that make the decision in terms of priority and funding actually haven’t made the decision.” LEP out soon The long-awaited Strathfield Local Environmental Plan, a vital blueprint for future development over the coming decade, is expected to be approved shortly by State planners. Once the green light is given, the plan will go on public display for comment early in the new year. The plan, the result of months of work by Strathfield Council with state planners, sets land use and development guidelines and has a major impact on growth. Developers are keen to see the plan, as it has a major impact on the viability of projects. Following public consultation, the new plan will be operational in 2012 protect yourself Keep valuables hidden Don’t attract attention with devices Be aware of your surroundings Stay in well lit areas Tell family or friends when you expect to arrive If you feel unsafe, ask for help Record serial numbers What to do during a robbery Follow instructions; do not oppose demands Stay calm; don’t stare at the person Make no sudden moves as this may be misinterpreted as a threat Only activate duress alarms if it issafetodoso Contact police as soon as is safe