Bikie gangs to be outlawed

Bikie gangs and similar groups will be outlawed under new laws introduced by the state government on Wednesday morning.

The laws, introduced by attorney-general Robert Clark, will allow police to make an application to the Supreme Court to outlaw a gang or place restrictions on members' actions, which may include banning members congregating, wearing club colours or patches.

The laws will also allow police intelligence evidence to be given in a closed court, if it is deemed in the public interest. Premier Ted Baillieu said that government would not be involved in the actions and that the court would have to decide beyond reasonable doubt that taking action against a gang was in the public interest and that the gang's activities were "a serious threat to public safety and order".

All orders will be able to be to appealed. Mr Baillieu said he did not expect "wall to wall applications".

The legislation also contains mutual recognition laws that will allow similar bans on groups made in other states to be recognised in Victoria, in a bid to avoid criminal gangs moving to the state.

"We are following a thorough court process," Mr Clark said.

He said gangs may move their activities underground but bikies' current behaviour was to act in the open. Gang members who were found to be in breach of court orders will face up to five years' jail while gangs could be fined up to $400,000.

Further legislation will be introduced next year to tackle bikie clubs' headquarters and fortifications.

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