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Putting the handbrake on car theft.

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E239/01 31 October 20011

Putting the Handbrake on car theft

Hot off the production line comes a new crime prevention project aimed at putting the handbrake on car theft in Tasmania, Minister for Justice and Customs Senator Chris Ellison, announced today in Launceston.

Senator Ellison said the $200,000 would be invested in a model crime prevention project targeting young people under 20 years who had been involved in motor vehicle theft and those 'at risk'.

'This practical new project will help put the handbrake on car theft by young offenders in Tasmania,' Senator Ellison said.

'Hand Brake Turn, is a 10-week training program for 15-20 year olds offering a combination of car repairs training, personal mentoring, and pathways to further training and employment opportunities for young people 'at risk' including first time offenders, long term unemployed and homeless youth.'

'It will also include Street Legal a similar programme aimed at diverting young repeat offenders from crime by providing mechanical workshop training, counselling and group work opportunities.'

'The project aims to give young people some positive, practical alternatives that enable them to continue enjoy being around cars, while at the same time offering them an opportunity to learn a trade.'

'It's a great initiative that will have significant benefits not only for the young people involved but for the whole community through reduced crime rates and insurance premiums.'

Australia has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the world ' estimated to cost the community about $1 billion each year.

75% of vehicles are stolen by youth aged 14-20 who use the cars to commit a range of offences including joyriding or to commit another more serious crime. 15% of young offenders who commit car theft will go on to re-offend.

Senator Ellison said the project would be undertaken in conjunction with the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council who would work develop the projects in to a national diversionary programme for young repeat offenders. The projects had been previously been trialed in Victoria, News South Wales and South Australia, where an evaluation found they were successful in influencing the behaviour of juvenile offenders.

The Commonwealth's contribution to the joint project will be funded under the four-year $21 million National Crime Prevention Programme.

Media Alert ' Senator Ellison will visit Launceston to meet Liberal Candidate for Bass, Tony Benneworth, and will be available to comment on the new crime prevention project, and yesterday's launch of the Coalition's Law and Order Policy, at 42 St John St, Launceston at 12.45pm.

Media enquiries: Nicole Johnston 02 6277 7260 or 0419 217 918