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Deradicalisation funds are small change, communities need more help

Media Release
Christine Milne 2 May 2015

Greens Leader Christine Milne says it's about time federal funds started flowing for deradicalisation programs in Australian communities.

"It has been almost eight months since Australians were first sent off to another unwinnable war in the Middle East, but only now is the Abbott government starting to act on countering violent extremism at home," said Senator Milne.

"$1.6 million dollars is a very modest start for the 34 programs being funded and it's small change for this government, which has prioritised a war and a law and order crackdown over building social cohesion.

"The government was awfully quick to go to war and use national security as cover for giving extra powers to our spy agencies and legalising mass surveillance via metadata.

"Why has help for our local communities taken so long to roll out, and why is so little funding being made available?

"Families are worried. Community leaders are under pressure. We've got to give them the resources they need to keep their loved ones safe from the pull of violent extremist groups.

"From the $630 million dollar counter-terrorism package announced by Mr Abbott last August, only $13.4 million dollars was dedicated to strengthening community engagement programs.

"It's taken nine months for the first $1.6 million to actually hit the ground. Why so little, and why has it taken so long?

"We need to see this money allocated to programs based in the community, which target violent extremism and those people vulnerable to everything from jihadist propaganda to white supremacy.

"We must ensure the programs that are rolled out don't serve to further isolate Muslims by targeting them or making them the focus of surveillance.

"The Greens have introduced legislation to set up an Australian Centre for Social Cohesion to develop and implement best-practice deradicalisation programs. I repeat my call for the government to support it.

"Prevention is much better than cure when it comes to keeping us all safe from risks associated with terrorism," Senator Milne said.

"Going to war won't make us safer. Building a cohesive, tolerant and inclusive community in Australia should be the government's top priority."


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