Jewish institutions in the federal electorate of Wentworth will benefit from over $2 million in funding under round six of the government’s Safer Communities Fund.
Wentworth MP Dave Sharma said the funding will enable schools, places of religious worship and community organisations to enhance their security through the installation of infrastructure such as fencing, gates, CCTV cameras and alarm systems.
“Unfortunately, the Jewish community in Wentworth has been the target of a number of attacks in recent years. There is a demonstrated need for strengthened security measures to ensure the community can practise their faith in freedom and without fear,” he said.
“I am pleased that I have been able to help secure such funding from the government.”
Sharma said examples of antisemitism “are still far too prevalent in Australia”.
“It is important we do all we can to protect vulnerable communities from this and other forms of intolerance and bigotry,” he said.
“I will continue to speak up for and protect the Australian Jewish community.”
Co-chair of the National Council for Jewish Community Security and chairman of the NSW Council for Jewish Community Security Peter Wise welcomed the funding.
“Since its establishment the Safer Communities Fund has proven to be a valuable contributor to the safety of a wide range of at-risk institutions across Australia as a whole, including organisations within the Jewish community,” he said.
“We are very thankful for that because the cost of providing adequate security in these troubling times is a burden that many of our communal organisations are unable to bear without ongoing assistance from grant programs like this.
“The government is to be commended for recognising the need.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim said the roof body is “most appreciative of the federal government’s support to meet this urgent need” for new and upgraded security infrastructure.
“We are now looking for support to help vulnerable Jewish community institutions meet the heavy burden of operational security costs of a recurrent nature,” he said.
“Under the present funding criteria, vulnerable community institutions other than schools are not eligible for funding for recurrent security costs.
“We have been making representations to the relevant ministers since last year asking that all vulnerable community institutions be eligible for funding assistance for operational security costs.”