Gillard goes west Day 3

3:30pm: Ms Gillard has some meetings in Parramatta for the rest of today, but no more public engagements or media conferences. 

Tomorrow she will attend an employment forum in Liverpool from 10am to 3pm and is expected to have other engagements in the afternoon.

2:30pm: The Prime Minister was in Camden to open the new Centre for Carbon, Water and Food.


Ms Gillard said she had funded the start of the process to build the centre in 2009 when she was the Education Minister.

She said the centre would help Australia move into a future that would rely on sustainable agriculture and food security.

‘‘This will create huge opportunities for our nation,’’ Ms Gillard said.


‘‘The world will need Australia to be a super food power in this century of growth and change.’’

Ms Gillard also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the University of Sydney and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences to work together on research projects.

1.30pm: The Prime Minister is currently at the Camden University of Sydney’s Centre for Carbon, Water and Food. 

She will be giving a speech which she is there and will head to Parramatta for an event at 3.15pm.

12.30pm: Ms Gillard has just held a press conference about her new planned anti-gang task force.


"It's been a really remarkable meeting," Ms Gillard said.

She said the message was that the community wanted to address crime, see that young people get a good education and choose the best paths in life.

"They also want to see politicians working together to make our communities safer."

She then went on to talk about the plan to get politicians working together. 

"At the next Council of Australian Governments meeting I will ask State Premiers to refer to the federal government the power to make laws about gangs and to make laws to attack unexplained wealth," she said.

"As a Federal Government without this referral would not be able to do so."

She said at the moment there is some difficulty in tracking money that is generated from criminal activity.

In the community meeting frustration was expressed that there was unexplained wealth.

"These laws will put a spotlight on unexplained wealth."

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus spoke of gangs operating across state, territory and national borders.

"Gangs don't respect state, national and territory borders and that is why its important to get national laws to deal with gangs and criminal organisations," he said.


"They'll also have to justify in court where their wealth has come from."

After the press conference she met with some members of the community.

11.30am: Ms Gillard is at Punchbowl Community Centre will hold a press conference her new anti-gang task force soon.

She is still in a meeting with community members at the centre now. 

Justice Minister Jason Clare and Environment Minister Tony Burke joined her for the meeting ahead of the announcement.

Mr Clare and Mr Burke are also local MPs for local electorates Blaxland and Watson.

Ms Gillard said she noted that the media was reporting on a shooting overnight in a nearby suburb.

The Prime Minister spoke about creating new police resources and new strike teams.

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She wanted to get the perspective from the local community, including local workers.

There were representatives of various organisations including medical professionals already inside the centre when Ms Gillard arrived earlier this morning. 

Mr Burke spoke of crime in the area in past years.

"I think the local community remembers how much we've gained over the past 10 years, to where we were in terms of safety back then," he said.

"A lot of work was done by the local community to make sure we were a safe area again.

"In the last few months in various parts of Sydney we have started to see an emergence of a pattern again that we haven't seen for a long time and effectively we want to make sure that we fix it before it ever gets like this again."

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Jason Clare said there were plenty of challenges and he was working with state and federal police to develop a national anti-gang task force. 

"It's important to make sure it's got the powers it needs to do the job," Mr Clare said.

"The advice that I've received from police right across the country, is that the more power its got to seize the assets and cash from criminals the more successful they're going to be."

All three emphasised that gang crime wasn't a local problem, but a national one.

10.30am: Julia Gillard is in Punchbowl visiting the Punbowl Community Centre for a Community Safety Forum.

Community members plan to speak to the Prime Minister about crime in western Sydney. She is currently in a closed meeting with representatives of various local community groups and will later hold a door stop interview.

Our reporter, Kerri-Ann O'Sullivan is at the scene and has tweeted the picture below. 

Blaxland MP and Justice and Home Affairs minister Jason Clare, who has previously spoken out about the need to crack down on the widespread crime in western Sydney is in attendance.

8.30am: Mornings with Linda Mottram is broadcasting from out the front of Blacktown Council chambers. Subjects of discussion include how the Prime Ministers visit is being received by locals, the problems facing youth and the unemployed and the proposed Blacktown Local Environment Plan.

There has been some criticism of Ms Gillard not speaking to average voters on the street, but rather only communicating with her supporters.

7.50am: Prime Minister Julia Gillard spoke on Nova FM's Fitzy and Wippa show.

The hosts asked her how the response to her western Sydney visit had been.

Ms Gillard replied that while she had been to western Sydney many times before, her visits had always been day trips.

''This is an opportunity to spend a few days in a row,'' she said.

The Prime Minster then spoke about two young people she had met, one of who was studying law at Sydney University and the other who was in his final year at school.

Fitzy and Wippa then quizzed Ms Gillard about her host: Rooty Hill RSL.

She knew her stuff.

There's a postcode beer (part of the club's campaign to have its own postcode), membership is $7.50, Zest is the name of one of the restaurants and Smashmouth (who will play at the club on Friday night) supplied one of the songs in the animated movie Shrek.

What the PM didn't know was that a 10 kilogram suckling pig can be ordered for dinner with 24 hours notice.

She thought it was 5 kilograms.

7.30am: Prime Minister Julia Gillard was interviewed on 2Day FM's  Kyle and Jackie O Show.

The hosts asked her if she was enjoying her time in the west, to which she (obviously) replied that she was.

''I've got to meet some amazing people who are doing some wonderful things,'' she said.

 They also asked how many hours a day she worked, to which Ms Gillard replied that she started pretty early and finished pretty late.

''One of the amazing things about this job is no two days are the same.''

The hosts then asked if she had watched a program called Revenge.

She hasn't.

A western suburbs listener called Lucas, who apparently does regular reports on the show, asked Ms Gillard questions.

''Why can't you just fix things?'' was the first thing he asked.

''As Prime Minister you can't just fix everything,'' Ms Gillard replied.

Lucas' second question related to the tax he paid on his second job.

''You are paying less tax now than yiou used to,'' Ms Gillard said.

''Now you get to keep the first $18,000 you earn."

Lucas showed some concern for the elderly and roads before asking ''Why can't you help us out more - the workers and families and not the illegals and the bludgers?''

Ms Gillard said the government wanted to look after families and mentioned the school kids bonus , before Kyle Sandilands suggested a White House style Easter egg hunt at Kirribilli house.

Ms Gillard said she was happy to have the egg hunt provided Kyle dressed up as the Easter bunny.

7am: Our reporter Sally Willoughby and photographer Carlos Furtado visited Rooty Hill RSL this morning but there were no protesters this morning.

Media organisations such as Sky News were waiting out the front, but there was no sign of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.


The story Gillard goes west Day 3 first appeared on Blacktown Sun.

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