By NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
This week I travelled to China on my second official visit to the nation since I was given the great opportunity to represent the people of NSW. The visit focused on exploring opportunities for the NSW Government and businesses to ensure we are ready to take advantage of opportunities once the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement comes into place.
A travel delegation made up of 17 people from the financial services sector joined me as we promoted NSW as a leading provider of wealth management and financial services products to the Chinese.
It was good to return to China’s economic powerhouse and our Sister State, Guangdong Province, where I met with Party Secretary Mr Hu Chunhua and Governor Mr Zhu Xiaodan, and I look forward to meeting more government and business leaders in Beijing and Shanghai.
We are trying to get ahead of the curve because, when implemented, ChAFTA will give Australian and NSW firms an advantage in a very competitive market. Missions such as these allow us to continue working with our Chinese friends to be ready to take advantage of opportunities soon after they arise.
Before I left for China, I joined the Ministers for Education and Multiculturalism to announce the NSW Government’s new strategy for helping identify young people in our community who could be at risk of carrying out an act of extremist violence.
Some of the measures announced this week have been accelerated after the terrorist attack in Parramatta that cost the life of NSW Police worker Curtis Cheng.
More counselling and support services will be provided to students in NSW schools and additional training will be available to those counselors and support staff in time for the start of the 2016 school year. The training will ensure the workers have the skills needed to identify vulnerable young people and help them access support programs.
Additionally, up to five specialist school support teams will work with schools where a problem has been identified to help them respond to critical incidents. These expert teams will cost about $15 million and will be deployed in response to the rise of violent extremism, which we have all witnessed recently and tragically in our own community.
Along with measures to support schools, the $47 million package of preventative measures will include a range of programs that are designed to build community cohesion and maintain cultural harmony.
In addition to a $4 million program I announced a few months ago, there will be a further $8 million directed at community resilience programs that will be delivered by a range of organisations who work with our youth.
The NSW Government will also establish a support and advice telephone line, along with online services, for community and family members seeking advice on how to best protect and support young people who may be exposed to violent extremist influences. The line will be managed through the NGO sector.
The package of measures is designed to complement the strong law enforcement measures we have in place in NSW and will give families the community every opportunity to speak up and alert someone if they see any of our young people disengaging from family and social life, which intelligence we’re hearing from around the world suggests is one of the main indicators that suggests a person could be falling victim to terrorist recruitment tactics.
Violent extremism is a willingness to use or support unlawful violence to promote a political, ideological or religious goal. I have always said we are much stronger united than divided and these new measures are designed to tackle this major issue.
Finally, I would like to commend everyone who has taken the time to plan their journeys into the Sydney CBD in recent weeks as construction begins on the new CBD light rail project. This is just the start of a long process, however these early results have been very encouraging and I’d like to encourage everyone to continue visiting the MySydney website, mysydney.nsw.gov.au for all the latest updates.