FUNDING for security upgrades at Melbourne shules, Jewish schools and organisations will receive a boost of more than $350,000 from the federal government’s Safer Communities Fund (SCF) while an announcement on the Turnbull government’s long-awaited security funding for the Beth Weizmann Community Centre appears to be imminent.
Jewish community recipients under the current round of SCF funding received a total of $356,005, including St Kilda Hebrew Congregation ($53,826), Melbourne Hebrew Congregation ($130,517), Kadimah Centre ($40,148), South Caulfield Shule ($54,657), Melbourne Chevra Kadisha ($46,638) and Sephardi Association of Victoria ($30,219).
Other Jewish institutions could expect grants from further SCF funding rounds.
The grants are for Jewish communal buildings in the Melbourne Ports and Goldstein electorates that will enable important upgrades such as CCTV cameras.
At a joint announcement on the steps of St Kilda Hebrew Congregation on Sunday, Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson said, “Jews in Melbourne’s southeast are facing increased security risks and the Jewish community in Melbourne does an amazing job raising a lot of the funds to meet that increased cost privately.
“But it’s also right that the federal government contribute to that cost because every Australian deserves the right to feel safe in their community,” he said, adding, “local Jewish organisations can be confident in the government’s commitment to the community’s safety”.
Describing it as “a huge announcement”, Goldstein Liberal MP Tim Wilson said it was “a clear commitment by the Turnbull government for security for the Jewish community, not just in Victoria but across Australia”.
In a statement, Wilson said, “The Coalition is proud to stand side-by-side with Melbourne’s Jewish community to keep them safe and secure.
We will keep working to deliver funding and improve security arrangements for the Melbourne Jewish community”.
State member for Caulfield David Southwick was “pleased that a number of my electorate’s local institutions will benefit from federal government funding for security upgrades”.
Hosting the MPs, St Kilda Shule’s Rabbi Yaakov Glasman described it as a “very generous grant from the federal government”.
When Premier Daniel Andrews last month announced a $4 million grant for the Victorian Jewish community, specifically for security upgrades, he challenged the federal government to match his government’s earlier $500,000 commitment to Beth Weizmann’s security needs, a match he said the Jewish community had been waiting on for four years.
The AJN understands a major announcement on Beth Weizmann’s federal security funding will be made shortly.