$47m fund to quash extremism



The New South Wales Government has announced that $47 million will be spent in the state’s schools and in the community to stop the radicalisation of young people.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said the suite of measures would include 200 counsellors trained to identify vulnerable young people in schools.

Five specialist school teams made up of people like former principals and psychologists will be introduced to work with community leaders.

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A community hotline run by a non-government organisation will also be set up to be the first point of contact for those in the community with “concerns and fears”.

“The community can know that this is the number to call if they have concerns or questions, and obviously the community hotline will have many answers or indeed be able to refer those parents or those community members concerned to appropriate services,” the Premier said.

The measures will also include a community cohesion ambassadors program which will be made up of high-profile community leaders to promote cultural harmony.

Mr Baird said the community programs would focus on sporting associations, education, communication, social media and humanitarian projects.

There would also be a program that focused on family engagement.

“This is the front line of defence, the front line of defence against violent extremism is our families,” the Premier said.

“We need to understand how we can support mums and dads in engaging in this new challenge and also equipping them [to] know what to look for, know how to respond, and a range of programs will be looked at to address that.”

Mr Baird said he had been working closely with the Islamic community after police force worker Curtis Cheng was shot by a 15-year-old in Parramatta last month.

The government said the measures had been accelerated since the attack was carried out by the radicalised teen.

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