March 24, 2014

Napthine Cuts To Blue Light Programme

Denis Napthine’s budget cuts have forced Victoria Police to axe full-time staff and resources from the world-renowned Blue Light program which helps at-risk youth, State Member for Footscray, Marsha Thomson said.

Documents obtained by the State Opposition show Victoria Police notified officers via its intranet service last Thursday that it had terminated the current Letter of Understanding with the Blue Light State Council and as a result dedicated full time staff and resources would no longer be provided.

Ms Thomson said Blue Light was a leading crime prevention initiative for at-risk and disadvantaged youth under 18 and it would be a big loss to Footscray.

“Denis Napthine and his dysfunctional minority Government have yet again abandoned another successful Footscray crime prevention program,” Ms Thomson said.

“Denis Napthine is more concerned with saving his own job than ensuring Footscray at-risk youth receive the assistance, guidance and programs they need to help them stay away from a life of crime.

“Denis Napthine’s $100 million budget cuts to Victoria Police have seen the police bands axed and Newstart program shutdown and now the slashing of staff and resources from Blue Light, at the same time as we have had three consecutive years of crime rises under his Government.”

Ms Thomson said Blue Light began in 1976 when a group of police officers held a disco at Mooroolbark and since more than six million children have attended Blue Light Discos.

Ms Thomson said the Blue Light program identifies and addresses the needs of at-risk youth and provides them with education, crime reduction, life skills, social and sporting programs.

Blue Light evolved from discos into an essential part of the Victoria Police youth crime prevention program expanding into youth sporting and educational camps, self-defence classes and other clinics for abused or disadvantaged under-18 youth.

Because of its success Blue Light expanded from Australia to New Zealand, Pacific Nations and the United Kingdom.

“In less than 12-months Denis Napthine has overseen the axing of the Victoria Police bands and withdrew support from the award-winning crime prevention Newstart program, which assisted more than 2000 at-risk youth,” Ms Thomson said.

“Our prisons are over flowing, police are babysitting prisoners, crime rates have grown each and every year of this Government and Denis Napthine solution is to abandon crime prevention programs putting the Footscray community at risk.”