The Hon. Michael Keenan MP Minister for Justice & Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism.
The President of Neighbourhood Watch Australasia is preparing to set off on a gruelling, solo marathon bike ride across the nation to spread the word about a new community safety smart phone app.
Bernie Durkin is putting his body on the line, cycling from Perth to Sydney, encouraging people to get online using the ‘NHWConnect application’.
The app allows residents interested in safeguarding their communities to join local closed Neighbourhood Watch groups to exchange ideas and information.
Mr Durkin hopes a six-week awareness campaign, Ride to Connect – Keeping Australia Safe, will assist people in a time poor society to take advantage of the app and share their views and concerns via the internet when it’s convenient for them.
“The plan is to leave Scarborough Beach in Perth on Saturday 25 February and arrive in Sydney by Saturday 8 April,” Mr Durkin said.
“Along the way, I’ll be able to interact with scores of communities, big and small, meet residents in person and urge them to get on board via the NHWConnect app,” he said.
“I’ll also be maintaining a blog, capturing images of our rich and wonderful landscapes as I encourage Australians to help protect this beautiful country through online engagement.
“It’s not your usual Neighbourhood Watch campaign but we’re about communities and there’s nothing like meeting people face to face to spread the word about this new initiative.”
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan launched Mr Durkin’s campaign today at Scarborough Beach, Perth.
Minister Keenan said the Australian Government is committed to taking decisive action to tackle local crime, anti-social behaviour and fear in our communities.
“NHWA is a vital organisation that brings members of local communities and police together to promote a sense of belonging, encourage connectedness, increase perceptions of safety, and reduce crime,” Mr Keenan said.
“Last year, I announced $1.3 million in Safer Streets Programme funding for NHWA to deliver five community-led safety and awareness programs to prevent crime, stop social isolation and increase the safety and security of communities across Australia.
“But these initiatives could not be successful without the commitment of NHWA volunteers like Bernie who have dedicated their lives to keeping our communities safe.
“I congratulate Bernie on his campaign and look forward to following his journey from Perth to Sydney as he connects new neighbours and works to build greater community resilience.”
For further information contact:
Bernie Durkin, President NHWA, 0403 124 932
Ingrid Stonhill, CEO, NHWA, 041 592 7526
Minister Keenan: Danielle McKay 0438 390 273 or Shannen Wilkinson 0476 820 816