There's mini 'Detroits' popping up all over the country. Take a walk around the business district of Geelong to see urban decay in full swing... not at night though. Apparently not a good place to be walking around after dark!
They've spent hundreds of millions on Sunshine, Footscray and Dandenong station precincts but the underlying problems of unemployment, drugs, alcohol and crime are all still pretty obvious to the casual observer.
As a Geelong resident for my entire life, I can agree with you in regards to the CBD.
There is plenty of empty shops and scumbag teenagers hanging out at the bus stops, smoking and swearing. The influx of migrants is beginning to have an effect with their bored children hanging out in groups, giving innocent people passing by a hard time.
I used to frequent the city most weekends 10 years ago for a drink at night and never had issues.
On the rare occasion that I go out now, I mainly go to the strip club because of the friendly atmosphere, on the ball security and music that is not that loud that you can't have a conversation.
I only see Geelong getting worse, not better when Ford finally shut. Granted the Mayor, like him or not seems to be working hard but when his political alignment is not the same as the State Government, he struggles with the big ticket items.