The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a comprehensive response to concerns held by the Creswick community, canvassed in a meeting held last Friday.
The response, printed in full below, comes as residents express their fears about crime levels and anti-social behaviour in Creswick to local councillors, media and police.
"On Friday 26 June 2020 a round table was attended by Hepburn Shire, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria Police, Uniting Victoria Ltd, Department of Justice and Community Services and Department Environment Land Water and Planning. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current and future services in place to support the Creswick community.
"The round table participants agreed that they would individually develop strategies to better support the Creswick community and have agreed to look at ways and options to engage community directly, so that their voices are heard. This will be a coordinated effort between DHHS, DJCS, Victoria Police and the government funded sector.
"The meeting discussed the current environment and the impact of COVID-19 and identified an increase in people who are transient as a result. Agencies, including Uniting Victoria, are supporting people who are presenting as homeless in higher than usual numbers and experiencing limited housing options to then support them.
"Hepburn Shire agreed that they would continue to work with the community, the caravan park lessee and appropriate authorities to address and support community concerns relating to the caravan park.
"Victoria Police advised that there have been recent changes to personnel in Creswick and that they will develop a communications strategy for Creswick and for the new members to meet the locals, recommencing their "Coffee with a Cop" program.
"DHHS currently have a number of public housing planning strategies in place across the Central Highlands Area and this includes a review of the public housing demographics and upgrades to the housing stock.
"DHHS takes its responsibility as a social landlord seriously and takes action in line with the Residential Tenancies Act. The department is committed to supporting tenants to access services and is committed to listening to the needs of the Creswick community.
"The round table was a very positive and productive meeting with a number of joint strategies agreed to improve community awareness and pathways for community into local government departments to understand and address their issues. A regular round table will be coordinated to enable the joint parties stay abreast of any emerging issues and provide timely responses. A further meeting will be held in six weeks.
"Where community members have concerns about antisocial behaviour relating to public housing, they are encouraged to make contact with DHHS Public Housing on 1800 065 445.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"Victoria Police encourage the community to contact crime stoppers on 1800 333 000 if the observe or hear of any suspicious activity. The source of the information will remain completely anonymous.
"To report some non-urgent crime and events anytime, anywhere please contact the Police Assistance Line on 131444.
"Anyone who requires urgent police assistance should call 000 so the nearest police unit can be tasked to respond."
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