Federal Government aids Jewish Schools’ Security

August 7, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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The Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, has announced Government aid to increase the security at specific Jewish dayschools.The Minister made the announcement at Melbourne’s Mount Scopus School.

J-Wire publishes the speech in full:

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

“We as a Government are aware that not all schools are equally safe and therefore it is incumbent upon us to do what we can for those schools and for the citizens of this country.

It is a great pleasure to join you today.

And I would particularly like to thank Rabbi Kennard and Mount Scopus College for their hospitality in hosting this event.

Secure Schools Program

It is essential for all schools to be welcomed and embraced as part of a socially inclusive nation.

This allows students to enjoy the pleasures and benefits of learning – and to feel secure in doing so.

That’s why the Australian Government has invested $20 million in the Secure Schools Program, which aims to ensure that at-risk schools can keep their students safe.

I’d like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the work of my predecessor, the Hon Bob Debus, for getting the Secure Schools Program up and running.

Bob was a strong supporter of this program.

It would be nice to think that we don’t need to have elaborate security measures in Australian schools.

The unfortunate reality however, is that we do.

There are schools that have been targeted on the basis of ethnicity or religious background.

These are threats based on ignorance and prejudice – and they have no part in the Australian way of life.

The Secure Schools Program provides opportunities for those most at risk to develop solutions to meet their particular needs.

And some of the most efficient preventative measures are fencing and Closed Circuit TV.

To date we have 20 schools around Australia approved for funding.

This covers government and non-government schools, including Jewish and Islamic schools.

And they’re sharing $5 million to help make them more secure.

Funding Announcement

Today, I’m pleased to announce funding for a further five schools here in Victoria – that will share more than $2 million.

Five of these schools are in Victoria:

·        Adass Israel School will receive funding for fencing and CCTV

·        Leibler Yavneh College and Sholem Aleichem College will receive funding for fencing, CCTV and other infrastructure items

·        Yesodei HaTorah College will receive funding for perimeter fencing, and Mount Scopus College will also receive funding for security fencing and CCTV.

I’m sure these measures will help each school be a much safer place.

And I look forward to announcing further funding for schools in other states and territories in the near future.

I’ve also made it clear that I’m happy to meet representatives of schools to ensure that when we make decisions we do so with proper consultation.

It’s great to see work such as this being done to keep Australian students and schools safe and secure.

But the Australian Government realises that more needs to be done to ensure this is the case over the longer term. This is part of our broader plan to keep all Australians safe, and to maintain social cohesion.

So later this year I’ll be writing to my state and territory counterparts to seek their advice for future funding under the Secure Schools Program.

And I look forward to keeping you informed of progress in this regard.

Meanwhile, I’d like to congratulate all the recipients of the current funding – may your schools be kept safe – and may your students prosper.”

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