News & Media Releases

Yarra City Council launches major community engagement on Victoria Street

06 February 2017

Yarra City Council is beginning an in-depth conversation with the community about improving public safety, liveability and prosperity in Victoria Street, Richmond.

“Victoria Street in Richmond is a vibrant dining, shopping and cultural destination. However issues arising from illicit drugs, including public injecting, overdoses, and discarded needles and syringes have been significant concerns for over a decade,” said Yarra City Council Mayor, Councillor Amanda Stone.

“The issues in Victoria Street are complex and entrenched. Addressing them will take a collaborative effort from the all levels of government, Victoria Police, health service providers and the community.

“That’s why we’ve launched ‘Reimagining Victoria Street’ - a community engagement project to begin dialogue with our community about the challenges facing Victoria Street and how they could be addressed.

“Council is well aware of the issues, but the residents and traders who live and work in the area every day have a unique and valuable perspective.  Through their insight and ideas, we can start to form a new vision for Victoria Street.

“This consultation is the first step in what we hope will be a process for positive change.  Our aim is to use the community’s feedback to help inform a series of recommendations that will guide Council’s ongoing work and advocacy for improving Victoria Street. 

“There are a number of ways the community can participate. We will be holding two ‘listening post’ sessions on Victoria Street in February, where people can talk to Council staff in person. They can also go online to share experiences and find more information. We’ll be doing specific engagement with traders, Richmond Public Housing Estate residents, local schools, and people who inject drugs.

“There is no silver bullet that will fix these issues. It will take a multi-faceted approach and we look forward to working with local agencies, Victoria Police, the State Government and the community to create a safer, more liveable and prosperous Victoria Street.”

Reimagining Victoria Street – Get Involved

We want to hear about your experiences of living, working and visiting Victoria Street and the surrounding area, and your ideas for making it a safer, more attractive and welcoming place for all.

There are many ways you can get involved:

In person - Speak to Council Officers in person at one of our pop-up listening posts. Visit us at the corner of Victoria Street and Nicholson Street (outside Quint Café) at the following times:

(Vietnamese and Chinese interpreters will be available)

  • Saturday 18 February, from 10am to 12pm
  • Wednesday 22 February, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm

Email -

Phone - 9205 5555

Post - Yarra City Council, PO Box 168, Richmond 3121

Fast Facts

  • The City of Yarra has three times the metropolitan average of illegal drug overdoses leading to death.
  •  Yarra is the highest ranked municipality for overdose deaths per capita, with 499 deaths compared with only 43.63 for Greater Melbourne.
  • In 2015 alone, more than 60,000 syringes were collected across the City of Yarra as a result of public injecting (of these, over 50,000 were collected through syringe disposal units, which means they were disposed of safely.  The remaining 9,000 were collected through sweeps of parks and streets). This is a 30% increase on 2014.
  • Yarra City Council has supported and advocated for a medically supervised injecting facility (SIF) in the North Richmond area for many years.
  • Yarra City Council supports a multi-faceted response, including a SIF, health and education programs, urban renewal, community partnerships and law enforcement, to achieve a safer and more liveable environment on Victoria Street.
  • International evidence is consistent with findings from evaluations of Australia’s only SIF in NSW, concluding that SIFs are effective in reducing the number of discarded needles, syringes and other drug litter in local streets and laneways.  They also reduce the frequency of public witnessing of injecting drug use and overdoses. These facilities also reduce the spread of blood borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C, and injuries and deaths from drug overdoses.
  • The factors that cause people to inject in public are diverse and complex:
    • limited access to ‘safe’ accommodation due to homelessness;
    • an urgent need to mediate withdrawal symptoms;
    • a fear of being apprehended by police once they have obtained their drugs;
    • fear of theft by other drug users; and/or
    • a sense of comradeship among peers who are street-based users


For media enquiries, please contact:

Brooke Colbert
Manager – Communications Advocacy, Engagement and Media
0409 267 439 



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