NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announced that the NSW Government had extended funding for the Armidale Safe Aboriginal Youth Program Patrol until the end of June.
The extension brings total funding for the program to $78,279 in the 2014/15 financial year.
Mr Marshall said the patrol operated a safe transport and outreach service for vulnerable Aboriginal young people who were on the streets late at night to reduce the risk of them engaging in crime or being victimised and to ensure they arrived home safely.
“The NSW Government is committed to investing in youth and cultural programs that make a real difference by keeping young people safe and encouraging them to stay out of trouble,” he said.
“Since the patrol began operating in 2009, it has helped more than 150,000 Aboriginal youth statewide and in Armidale, the patrols help at least 140 young people every month.”
Mr Marshall said skilled youth workers carried out regular patrols on Friday and Saturday nights targeting the CBD and popular areas where young people hang out.
“The program identifies vulnerable Aboriginal youth who are unsupervised and ensures they get transport to a safe home, recreational centre or support service,” he said.
“It also focuses on breaking the cycle of crime by removing them from situations where there might be risk, and encouraging them to engage in positive and productive learning opportunities and activities.”
There are currently 10 Safe Aboriginal Youth Program Patrols across NSW including Armidale, Bourke, Dareton, Dubbo, Kempsey, La Perouse, Newcastle, Nowra, Taree and Wilcannia.
It works closely with other agencies including NSW Health, NSW Police and Family and Community Service, as well as local youth services, Indigenous organisations and counsellors to ensure Aboriginal youth receive the support they need.
Further funding for the program will be reviewed as part of the normal budget process in May this year