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Coalition ignores net education: NetAlert to be wound up.

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Senator Kate Lundy Senator for the Australian Capital Territory Shadow Minister for Information Technology and Sport

Coalition ignores net education - NetAlert to be wound up

Senator Alston’s obvious disinterest in assisting parents to supervise and manage their children’s internet activity was exposed today when he demonstrated his incapacity to recognise the importance of internet education.

Senator Alston’s view is consistent with the Government’s shoddy treatment of NetAlert, the body responsible for educating families about safe internet surfing.

NetAlert has revealed that over the last year, their operation has been run on the smell of an oily rag, and if more funding is not secured will commence procedings to wind up, possibly as early as the end of March.

Even before this recent publicity, NetAlert was seeking up to $10 million from the Government to educate parents in safe internet surfing for children over the next three years.

The Minister has so far refused to support this measure, and quite clearly is not interested in user education.

Instead the Coalition’s approach has been to ignore the reality of the net, irresponsibly suggesting that a magic wand exists to make the internet “safe” to the satisfaction of every family. This is unrealistic, and Senator Alston is misleading the public if he is suggesting this will work.

Unwanted internet content is of concern to all parents, and that is why Labor believes the Government should assist them in learning how to operate the internet safely. It should not be put in the “too hard” basket.

Labor calls on the Coalition to increase funding to allow NetAlert to conduct a real education campaign for parents.

6 March 2003. Media contact: Adina Cirson - (02) 6277 3334 or the Electorate Office - 0418 488 295.