New youth project launched: It takes a vil­lage to raise a child

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JOHN RYAN

PO­LICE min­is­ter David El­liott came to town this week to launch a unique Abo­rig­i­nal youth project – and he scored a new car for the po­lice in­volved in Project Wal­waay while he was here.

Aimed at men­tor­ing Abo­rig­i­nal kids, Project Wal­waay is sup­ported across the com­mu­nity by NSW Po­lice Force, PCYC, Abo­rig­i­nal Lands Coun­cil, Abo­rig­i­nal Le­gal Ser­vice, Abo­rig­i­nal El­ders and com­mu­nity mem­bers, and other govern­ment and non-govern­ment agen­cies.

The car wasn’t funded by tax­pay­ers by way of the state trea­sury, it was do­nated by Michael Adams, the owner of Golden West Au­to­mo­tive. Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saun­ders says that shows the com­mu­nity be­lieves in these proac­tive polic­ing strate­gies.

“Peo­ple are re­spond­ing re­ally well, we’ve just found out to­day that there’s a car be­ing given by Golden West to help the team ac­tu­ally get out and around,” Mr Saun­ders said yes­ter­day.

“They’re vis­it­ing schools reg­u­larly, they’re help­ing when things go wrong at school, a team mem­ber can be there to calm them down, take them home if they need to go home, rather than lock­ing them up later on that night – pro-ac­tiv­ity is a far bet­ter way to do it and this pro­gram is def­i­nitely do­ing that.”

Michael Adams said he’s a firm be­liever in sup­port­ing youth ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We’ve had long-term spon­sor­ship of ju­nior sport and that’s all about giv­ing youth op­por­tu­nity, and I think this is a re­ally good ini­tia­tive be­cause pre­ven­tion’s bet­ter than cure. It’s bet­ter for the whole com­mu­nity if we can do some­thing that helps chil­dren break the cy­cle of mis­be­hav­ing and crimes,” Mr Adams said.

“If we can get them on the right path it’s a win-win for ev­ery­body, so­ci­ety wins be­cause Dubbo will be a bet­ter place for ev­ery­body, and the child wins be­cause they’ll have a more mean­ing­ful and happy ex­is­tence.”

Po­lice min­is­ter David El­liott couldn’t agree more.

“We need pro­grams which will see po­lice and other com­mu­nity lead­ers walk along­side our youth, not nec­es­sar­ily in front of them, and I think that’s been very, very im­por­tant,” Mr El­liott told yes­ter­day’s me­dia con­fer­ence. “I’m de­lighted to see the suc­cess of the pro­gram here so far and I’m here to learn more about.

“I’m a great be­liever in the proverb that it takes a vil­lage to raise a child and what we’re see­ing out of this par­tic­u­lar pro­gram is ex­actly that,” Mr El­liott said.

Act­ing as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Pe­ter Mckenna said it’s not only im­por­tant be­cause it’s ac­tu­ally some­thing for crime re­duc­tion, but morally it’s the right thing to do.

“These kids don’t al­ways have the same op­por­tu­nity as other kids, for var­i­ous rea­sons, but it doesn’t get more im­por­tant than the most vul­ner­a­ble in our com­mu­nity, and as po­lice we have to be some­thing dif­fer­ent,” Mr Mckenna said.

“It’s no longer ac­cept­able to just have a re­volv­ing door and for­get about these kids, we’ve got ded­i­cated Abo­rig­i­nal po­lice of­fi­cers here, Abo­rig­i­nal Com­mu­nity Li­ai­son Of­fi­cers and the rest of the po­lice here are be­hind this be­cause we care about our com­mu­nity and we care about the youth in our com­mu­nity.

“So that’s why we’ve launched Project Wal­waay, to re­ally make a dif­fer­ence – and it’s work­ing.”

NSW Po­lice Min­is­ter David El­liott speak­ing at yes­ter­day’s launch of Project Wal­waay. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

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