Creating a safer nightlife for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The CBR NightCrew has recruited three new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers until 30 June 2018 as part of a trial of the CBR NightCrew program.

The program, managed by St John Ambulance and staffed by trained volunteers, helps to create a safer nightlife environment for patrons in Canberra’s CBD by assisting people affected by alcohol or otherwise experiencing difficulty.

Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said a $50,000 grant to recruit up to six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers would help CBR NightCrew engage more effectively with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“The CBR NightCrew has become a key player in helping Canberrans get home safe after a night out, assisting more than 900 people in February alone,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The assistance provided by the NightCrew team ranges from helping people charge their phones so they can contact their friends and families, to more serious matters such as helping to defuse potential assaults.

“These new positions will help the NightCrew better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as create new employment opportunities.”

With the busiest night of the year for Canberra’s nightlife precincts fast approaching – the Thursday before Easter – NightCrew volunteers will be out in force to help people enjoy a safe night out.

The CBR NightCrew program includes both roaming volunteer teams looking for at-risk people to assist and a ‘Safe Space’ tent located at Platform 8 in the City Bus Interchange.

The need for this funding was identified through the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Partnership.

“Some of the Partnership’s key objectives include improving access to justice services and diversionary programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The Partnership has identified a need for the CBR NightCrew program to be more accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“This funding, and these new positions, will help make the program more culturally relevant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a night out and reduce the likelihood of contact with police, ambulance and hospital services.”

CBR NightCrew workers and volunteers have helped more than 4,400 people in the 12 months the trial has been running.

Action

Number of people

People assisted

4,410

Minor contact/welfare check

3,404

Phones charged

229

Directions provided

443

Referred to transport

171

Higher level support

1,006

Reconnected with family and friends

141

Sobering up support

85

Assisted to transport

106