“Positive trends” at troublesome Elizabeth St

“Positive trends” at troublesome Elizabeth St
Brendan Rees

The City of Melbourne says positive changes in cleanliness and anti-social behaviour are occurring in Elizabeth St following a community roundtable earlier this year.

The council has worked closely with Victoria Police to address concerns of unruly behaviour, people sleeping rough, and illegitimate begging at the southern end of Elizabeth St.

Since a roundtable was held in January, the council said it had installed bollards to reduce vehicle access, put in more plants and trees, and increased the frequency of cleaning and graffiti removal.

“We are seeing positive trends in cleanliness and behaviour because of these new measures, and we will continue to work alongside Victoria Police and stakeholders to better the amenity and experience of this important gateway into our city centre,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.


We continue to work collaboratively with Victoria Police, residents, businesses and other authorities to address safety and amenity around Elizabeth St South, and across the central city.


The measures follow a Victoria Police symposium held on February 28, which brought together business owners, the City of Melbourne, and other stakeholders to discuss potential solutions for Elizabeth St, particularly at the Flinders St intersection.

However, traders and residents have expressed mixed feelings about the current state of safety and security in the area.

Nick, a resident, who CBD News asked not to use his surname, said he was deeply concerned “that council was overlooking the strip” and “there was certainly no improvement”.

“The strip is half-baked with the poor and unkempt attempt at turning it into a pedestrian plaza, which is now overcome with homeless, anti-social youth and drug-affected people,” he said, adding his neighbour was attacked by a person who smashed them over their shoulder with a bottle two months ago.

“The money spent on the Elizabeth St Strategic Opportunities Plan looks to have been a waste.”

A bottle shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had noticed things had improved along the strip with a more obvious police presence.

But they added they saw “fights outside, confrontations, people drinking, beggars, and rough sleepers” and that they were calling police at least twice a week.

“Last week someone came in and opened a bottle inside the store and starting drinking … not much we can do. We just had to get him out of the store as quickly and as safe as possible and report it to police,” the owner said.

“Friday and Saturday nights, it’s a bit of a jungle here and it gets crazy.”

Store manager of Quickfix on Elizabeth St said the strip was “definitely getting better” with a police presence deterring unwanted behaviour.

“They are still there but not as a bad as before,” they said.

Victoria Police Area Commander for Melbourne East Inspector Dale Huntington said safety improvements had been made to Elizabeth St, noting community engagement had been pivotal in working towards a common goal.

“From a policing aspect, it’s been good we’ve been touching base more and more with stakeholders, traders, and the residents, and making sure we’re holding people accountable,” he said.


It’s a visible police presence to make sure everyone feels safe and connected with us, but also targeting a handful of those that are causing grief and distress to the traders.


“We are getting feedback that it’s way better than it was.”

The council said a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Review had been completed in June, which was driven by the City of Melbourne and Victoria Police to help better understand the issues and challenges in the precinct and what could be done to improve the space.

The council has also allocated $250,000 in the next financial year towards the Elizabeth St Strategic Opportunities Plan. This would be followed by $500,000 in 2025-26, and $500,000 in 2026-27.

Since June 2016, the council has invested $4.5 million to improve the southern end of Elizabeth St, with upgrades including a new public space, expanded footpath, street furniture, new bluestone paving and landscaping. New flower beds and greenery were installed in December. •

Buy our Journalists a coffee

Support our dedicated journalists with a donation to help us continue delivering high-quality, reliable news

Buy our Journalists a coffee

Buy our Journalists a coffee

Like us on Facebook