BackTrack remains 'on track'
after funding secured
17 December 2013
Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce has announced the Federal funding for the BackTrack program at Armidale will continue into the future.
Mr Joyce had led several weeks of dialogue between the BackTrack leaders and the Federal Government and said a funding contract that suited all parties had been settled this week.
Mr Joyce said the home grown organisation had contributed to lowering youth crime rates across New England and was a testament to the hard work and vision of its founder, Bernie Shakeshaft.
“Ensuring a viable contract for BackTrack has been a priority issue for my office,” Mr Joyce said.
“I have personally undertaken the commitment to get this funding and have been on the phone repeatedly with Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion discussing the essential work BackTrack provides for young people who have lost their way.
“BackTrack is an important program that has set a benchmark for what can be achieved when direction and opportunity is provided to young people. It is an inspirational organisation and I am proud to have contributed to its ongoing success.”
BackTrack Steering Committee chair Kevin Dupé said he had accompanied Mr Joyce on his tour of the BackTrack facility last month.
“We thank Barnaby Joyce for his advocacy for BackTrack and for winning us this reprieve on funding for the next 12 months,” Mr Dupe said.
“His visit to the BackTrack headquarters in Armidale to meet stakeholders was a great opportunity for him to see for himself what our organisation achieves for at risk youth and for us to discuss with him our plans for the future.
“Over the next six months we will be undertaking further negotiations with the Federal Government to extend the funding under criteria that best fits our operation.”
Nigel Barlow, CEO Jobs Australia (under whose umbrella BackTrack fits) said the funding would enable BackTrack to continue its operations as planned.
“We are grateful for Barnaby Joyce’s intervention on our behalf to ensure the 12 months funding is offered under flexible criteria we can work with. BackTrack’s success in turning around the lives of disadvantaged young people, guiding them into work, managing their personal issues and continuing their education and training through the leadership of Bernie Shakeshaft and his team has strong community support,” he said.
“We are very pleased the funding support is available to maintain and grow this worthwhile program.”