Fostering good behaviour and communication with Melbourne’s welfare sector

Melbourne City Councillor. Richard Foster, is seeking to gag and prevent the City of Melbourne facilitating meetings or conducting discussions with Victoria Police and Welfare Organisations and other stakeholders from canvassing issues about begging on Melbourne’s Streets unless they have consulted and received his blessing.

The motion put forward by Forster is in response to the leadership role taken by the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle earlier this month to address ongoing concern about aggressive begging on Melbourne’s Streets.

UPDATE:  Richard Foster’s “Gag” Motion voted down with the Greens supporting Team Doyle in rejecting Fosters  ill-considered proposal whilst Stephen Mayne voted to in support @20:30

As anyone who has spent time on Melbourne’s Streets can attest there are a group of individuals who aggressively harass and intimidate people into handing over money cigarets. Their tactics go beyond just asking for money to assist in their living costs. The targets of these aggressive “beggars” are the vulnerable, our elderly and foreign visitors.  They approach their victims and demand cash or commodities such as cigarets. If the person refuses they then stoop to acts of intimidation, threats and assaults which boarder on criminality.   In some cases they are supported by others who corner and gang up on their victims .  You only need to look at the CTV footage to catch these petty criminals in action. If this is not addressed soon someone will be seriously hurt as things get out of hand.

Talk to the Street Traders and they will tell you what really goes on in the Streets of Melbourne. They see it every day 

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, is rightly concerned about this behaviour has sought the support of the Victoria Police and Welfare oganisations such as the Salvation Army in trying to address this issue.

In order to do so the Lord Mayor has set up a task force to try and find ways to best address this problem and at the same time making sure that those in real need obtain assistance and help where required. Robert Doyle has the support of the Salvation Army who know all too well what goes on the Streets of Melbourne

Richard Foster, Chairman of the Council’s “People City” Committee, is peeved by the fact that he was not consulted about the Doyle Action proposal, has sought to curtail the initiative put forward by the Lord Mayor,which is in it’s embryo state, until he has given it his personal stamp of approval

1. The Council resolves to:
1.1. Request the CEO to instruct Council Officers to cease facilitating meetings or conducting discussions with stakeholders involved in canvassing issues surrounding begging;
1.2. Request that the Chair of the People City Portfolio assume responsibility for any ongoing discussions with stakeholders for the specific purpose of collating views, ideas and suggestions on this issue (which may still involve Council Officers);
1.3. Request the Chair of the People City Portfolio to report the outcomes of these discussions to the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) at the earliest opportunity in order that any further action may be determined by the (FMC).

If the motion is passed the City of Melbourne would cease all work and liaison with the Police and welfare organizations until Richard Foster has had the opportunity to consider the proposals and give his consent.

 Richard Foster needs to put his ego aside and act more responsibly.   

The Foster motion, which was originally listed as an urgent business motion but later placed on the Council’s General Business agenda, has not been thought through and begs belief

Members of the Public should be able to make submissions and a detailed proper and workable proposal developed. This issue can not be left unattended waiting for Forster to get his act together

It is not an urgent motion and if Council is sincere about its desire to maintain open and transparent governance, it should refer this motion for proper consideration to the Future Melbourne Committee.

The Council and the Lord Mayor should continue to liaise and seek the support of Victoria Police and Welfare organizations in addressing what is a serious problem facing Melbourne