People should not be scared of terror happening at home, says Tim McCurdy

MP Tim McCurdy
MP Tim McCurdy

People should not be as scared in their own homes as they are of terrorism, says Tim McCurdy.

The Ovens Valley MP has backed the Victorian government’s proposed new terrorism laws, which would allow police to detain terrorism suspects for four days, give them special powers to take control of an affected area and make it tougher for accused terrorists to be granted bail.

But he has warned the government not to ignore crimes already happening in communities.

“Just going to bed in your own home at night should not leave you with the same fear you have of international terrorism,” Mr McCurdy told parliament.

“We need to be very careful that we do not invest excessive time in counterterrorism – which is extremely high in the priorities, do not get me wrong – at the expense of crime and violence in our communities. We have been seeing an increase in crime and violent crime over the last three years in our communities because the crooks can beat the system very easily.

“Committing a violent crime or home invasion should be treated far more seriously than we are currently treating it.”

The speech referenced the crime rate in Ovens Valley, particularly Wangaratta and Cobram, which continues to grow.

Mr McCurdy said he had been talking to Cobram businesses about the spike in burglaries and people were clear they wanted ”more action from an under-resourced police”.

“Police tell me that they are under-resourced and hamstrung by the processes, so there certainly are some failings in this area,” he said.

“Feeling safe is as important as being safe because you need to live your life feeling safe and secure, not petrified, whether that is in your own home or whether you are about to jump on an aeroplane to go somewhere else, or a train or a bus.”

Victoria’s terrorism laws will be implemented with $20.9 million allocated in the 2018-19 state budget.

Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the laws were formed following recommendations made to the government by an expert panel.

“This is the most significant shake up of our counter terrorism laws since they were introduced,” he said.

“Our reforms will strengthen bail and parole laws to help keep the community safe.”