Renewed calls for crackdown of youth crime, following string of offences across the region

In the wake of a string of crimes across the region, including a devastating fire at Irrawang Public School on Sunday night, there’s a renewed push to target crime in the local area.

Two days after the incident, which has seen two teenagers – aged 14 and 15 – charged, the school remains closed to students and teachers on Tuesday as the damage is cleaned up.

Liberal Candidate for Paterson, Brooke Vitnell has announced a crime crackdown campaign across Port Stephens, Maitland, Rutherford and the Hunter.

Ms Vitnell says the plan involves steps which would see crime rates reduced across the community.

“The federal government can play a part in the reduction of crime across our community.

“My crime crackdown is about fighting for crime-alleviating capital infrastructure for our region through Safer Communities Funding and also funding for early intervention projects.

“I would work in conjunction with local organisations across the Hunter community and getting those youths – aged eight to 13 – and redirecting them out of a life of crime and into support, education, employment, as well as providing requisite mental health support” Ms Vitnell said.

Federal Attorney General Michaelia Cash joined Ms Vitnell in the region on Tuesday to reinforce the governments standing on the issue of youth crime in the region.

“The federal government, we do have the Safer Communities Fund which is able to be applied for and in particular in relation to people who just want to keep their communities safe.

“Brooke and I have spent some time this morning wandering around and talking to small businesses who want to see better infrastructure so that their businesses are kept safe.

“Whether it’s CCTV, whether it’s bollards, whether it’s lighting, it’s all about Brooke working on the ground with the ground with the communities to then put in that application to the fund to ensure that the community is kept safe,” Ms Cash said.