Interview with Alexandra Kirk – ABC AM News Breakfast – 12 April 2013


Interview with Alexandra Kirk

ABC AM News Breakfast

12 April 2013

Topics: National Crime Prevention Fund


TONY EASTLEY: The Prime Minister will return to Western Sydney today to announce the third chapter in her law and order plan – a $40 million crime prevention fund. The money comes from confiscated proceeds of crime.

It’s part of the Government’s push to boost its election prospects, particularly in Western Sydney where a number of Labor seats are under threat.

Julia Gillard will use next week’s Council of Australian Governments meeting to push her case.

The Home Affairs and Justice Minister Jason Clare has been speaking to Alexandra Kirk.

JASON CLARE: Five million dollars will go to police citizens youth clubs (PCYC) right across the country that do a great job in helping young people that fall off the tracks and young people that are at risk of getting involved in crime.

Five million dollars will also go to Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets program. They run outreach services in New South Wales and do a great job of helping young people that get in trouble, and we’ll give them $5 million to expand their outreach services across New South Wales but also right across the country.

The rest of the money, the $30 million that’s left, will be spent on things like closed circuit television cameras and extra lighting in local government areas where they’ve got high rates of crime and for youth mentoring and outreach services by other non-government organisations.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And is that backed up by any empirical evidence that this will stop drive-by shootings and gang crime?

JASON CLARE: Well, there’s two things here Alex. We’ve got to target the serious criminals that are involved in gangs and gang violence, and that’s why the Prime Minister and I announced a National Gangs Taskforce last month.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. We want to stop young people from getting involved in crime in the first place.

Since Youth Off The Streets set up an outreach service in Macquarie Fields after the Macquarie Fields riots we saw a big drop there in local crime.

I was talking to the team at PCYC in Tasmania. They told me that at Bridgewater there’s been a 50 per cent reduction in daylight burglaries since the truancy programs that we’ve been funding there have become operational.

So they work. These are organisations with a track record of targeting young people in trouble and helping them to get back on track.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So what chunk of money do you think will end up going to Western Sydney?

JASON CLARE: Well, I can’t say Alex. That’ll be determined by the applications. The money needs to go where crime is worst to try and make a difference.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Organisations will be able to apply for funds from May. Will that mean that they’ll be able to get the first grants before the election?

JASON CLARE: We’ll be in a position to announce the successful applicants for these funds I think in June or July and the funds will be spent over two years.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And do you really think that voters will reward Labor for this?

JASON CLARE: Ask any voter, what do they want out of a government? They want a strong economy so that they’ve got the chance to get a good job. They want a good education system for their kids. They want to know that the local hospital can look after them if they get sick and they want safe streets. They don’t care who’s responsible for that. They just want it done.

TONY EASTLEY: The Home Affairs and Justice Minister Jason Clare with Alex Kirk.

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