Daniel Andrews and the Labor Government must ensure more young people get home safely after a night out by providing funding to expand Salvation Army Youth Street Teams.
Raising the issue in Parliament last night, Shadow Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation Russell Northe said the Youth Street Teams were ‘guardian angels’ who looked out for intoxicated or at-risk young people on Friday and Saturday nights in Melbourne’s CBD.
This includes handing out water, lollipops and footwear, and helping them into cabs.
They also provide a ‘chill-out zone’ for young people incapable of getting home, where they can spend time until they can head home safely.
The Coalition committed $400,000 to the Youth Street Teams before the election to expand the program to nightclub precincts in Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and Frankston.
“As a parent I know too well that it can be a worrying time when your kids are having a night out,” Mr Northe said.
“These Youth Street Teams provide comfort to both parents and young people that somebody is looking out for them and helping them home safely.
“But at the moment these ‘guardian angels’ are only in Melbourne’s CBD. We want to see that expanded to suburban and regional centres so that more young people can get home safely.”
Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan said she had visited the Youth Street Teams in Melbourne several years ago to see first-hand the difference they made.
“I was told a story about one volunteer who actually accompanied a young person in a taxi back to their home on the outskirts of Melbourne, just to make sure they got home safely,” Ms Ryan said.
“We must not forget that these are volunteers helping people simply out of the goodness of their heart, and they deserve more support.
“Daniel Andrews must realise that Victoria doesn’t end at the edge of the CBD and provide this extra funding to expand the reach of these vital Youth Street Teams,” Ms Ryan said.
Russell Northe (Shadow Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation) 0408 225 523
Steph Ryan (Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs) 0488 441 820