School security upped by Federal Government

August 7, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare today announced that 21 pre-schools across Australia will receive safety upgrades under the third round of the Secure Schools Program.

Michael Danby with pupils

Mr Clare made the announcement at Mount Scopus Memorial College Preschool in St Kilda with local member Michael Danby and representatives of Victoria’s Jewish schools community.

“This funding will make preschools safer, providing peace of mind for staff and parents,” Mr Clare said.

“In February this year I expanded the criteria to include preschools under the third round of the Secure Schools Program following a meeting with the Jewish Schools community in Victoria”.

“It makes sense to include pre-schools, which face many of the same security issues as other schools.

“The Secure Schools program provides schools with capital funding for safety infrastructure – such as fencing, closed-circuit television, bollards and improved lighting.

“It is a targeted program aimed at schools at risk of racial, religious or ethnically motivated violence, property crime or harassment.
“Mount Scopus Memorial Preschools campuses in St Kilda and Caulfield South will receive $233,670 for fencing, gates, screening, CCTV and intercoms.

Michael Danby, Member for Melbourne Ports, welcomed today’s announcement and said the funding was vital for the Jewish school community across Australia.

“People targeting our schools do not differentiate between preschools, primary schools or high schools”, Mr Danby said.

“Earlier this year we saw the tragedy in France where four people died at a Jewish preschool. I am pleased to see this funding being provided to help keep our preschools safe.

“I congratulate Mount Scopus and other Jewish preschools around Victoria and Australia for their successful applications and look forward to these safety upgrades being implemented.
Pre-schools were nominated by States and Territories and independent schools associations. They were then invited by the Australian Government to apply for funding, with the most urgent security needs selected.
In 2010 the Government allocated $15 million for security upgrades for at-risk schools. Over $4 million of this has been allocated to preschools, with the remainder being allocated to primary and secondary schools.
The first two rounds of the Secure Schools program provided $19.8 million for safety upgrades at 54 schools across Australia.

Every Jewish school in Australia has been included in the latest $4 million allocation including $385,000 for Sydney’s Moriah College and $285,000 for the city’s Emanuel School.

Up until today, the secure school funding program has allocated $21 million of the $35 million pool to Jewish dayschools with $8.2 million going to NSW, $10.9 million going to Victoria and the other States sharing $2.6 million.

Peter Wertheim, Executive Director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry added: ““Our community welcomes the expansion of the Secure Schools program to include pre-schools.  In taking this important action, the Government has recognised that the safety and wellbeing of our youngest citizens deserves special attention. We would all prefer that security expenditure for pre-schools was not necessary, but sadly that is not the case, as can be seen from overseas and local attacks against Jewish community targets.  Regrettably, incitement to racism is becoming more not less of a problem, often hiding disingenuously behind the mantra of ‘free speech’. “


Announcing the decision


One Response to “School security upped by Federal Government”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    The Commonwealth’s contribution toward school security and Michael Danby’s efforts in that regard should be applauded.

    However, the Jewish community should not have been required to fund security in the first place. As citizens, Jews are entitled to have their safety ensured by governments to which they pay taxes. But then again, our brave leaders would have had to identify the source of the threat and that would have been in turn a threat to the PC illusion of communal harmony and it would have required action against the source of the threat, with consequent howls of racism.

    I cannot imagine anyone asking, say, Aborigines to part fund its security if it was threatened by a group of racists.

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