Operation Newstart News

Casey Newstart Intake 30

Casey Newstart Intake 30

Operation Newstart Casey Graduation

Students at risk of dropping out get second chance through Operation Newstart

October 2018: Victorian Education Excellence Awards: We are looking forward to the announcement on Friday 26th October by the Minister of the winners of the Excellence Awards for Best Supporting Teams. Operation Newstart has been shortlisted, and is one of three finalists. Well done team!

August 2018: A special thank you to the GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE FOUNDATION. Operation Newstart Geelong is delighted to announce that this Foundation has granted the program $30,000.00 as a contribution towards the engagement of our YOUTH WORKER for the coming twelve months.

June 2018: We are very proud of the close relationship that Operation Newstart Geelong has established with the Percy Baxter Foundation over many years. We have been advised that the Foundation will continue to support the Youth Worker position at ONG for the next three years with a grant of $94,500.00.

June 2018: Victorian Education Excellence Awards: It was pleasing to learn that the Operation Newstart teams have been nominated for the Outstanding Education Support Team Award for 2018. Good luck to the team in the judging process. We’ll keep you posted’

May 2018: Jack Brockhoff Foundation: Longstanding supporters of Operation Newstart, we are delighted that the Jack Brockhoff Foundation has donated $7,500.00 to the group for replacement and maintenance of camping equipment.

December 21st 2017: It was a wonderful Christmas present for us all to learn that Operation Newstart is to receive support once again from the Department of Human Services through the Engage! program.

The Engage! program aims to help young people get involved in their communities.

Through Engage!, young people aged 12 to 25 years are helped to get involved in all aspects of community life, from volunteering and mentoring programs, to projects that will increase real-life skills and connect young people to further education, training or careers.

Engage! provides local governments and community organisations with grants of up to $150,000 over three years to develop projects with young people, for young people. Through these projects, young people will become more connected to their community, become engaged in education, training and career pathways and have an opportunity to build their networks.

Megan Bailey, Cranbourne Leader

December 7, 2016 12:00am

“WITH never-ending coverage of youth crime in the media programs like Operation Newstart are incredibly important.The nine-year-old initiative, which takes teens who have had run-ins with the law, at risk of dropping out of school, or struggling in other ways, and gives them a change to start over.Young people come to Operation Newstart after being referred by schools and the program takes eight students aged 13-15 years each term.

The program includes outdoor activities such as hiking, a rap recording session, drug and alcohol education, resume writing and job skills, CFA fire training, community activities, a trip to TAFE, family planning and sexual health, and a swimming and survival course.

Lead teacher Jimmy Seeary said the program had the funding it needed to run in 2017 but said demand was approximately twice as high as what the program could accommodate and funding was insecure.

“I think the biggest thing we see in the group is the ability to believe in themselves,” he said.

“They develop self-esteem, resilience, social abilities, the ability to work with others and the ability to communicate with adults.

“A lot of them are from broken homes and families that are dysfunctional; there may be drug use, criminal behaviour or parents might have passed away.

“We had a young lady who was really socially disengaged, she spent most of her time in her room, she was failing at school and self-harming. “We got her through the program; she was reluctant early in the program but then she got stronger. “We helped refer her to the Narre Warren learning centre and she’s been kicking goals ever since … she’s just got her L-plates and has done work experience at a vet clinic. “She’s hoping to become a vet nurse.”

One of the biggest challenges many young people in Casey face is run-ins with the justice system. Mr Seeary said the program used to have a used to be a full-time police contact supporting them but staff cuts had ended that three years ago.

“I think the relationship between young people and police that we were able to build when police were here; that has fallen away a lot,” he said.

Narre Warren South state Labor MP Judith Graley said she advocated on the program’s behalf for 2017 funding. “We were successful and the Department for Education and Training is now working with the team to identify ways to make the program more sustainable over time,” she said. “I will continue to work with and support everyone at Operation Newstart Casey to ensure they can continue their fine work within our community.”

Inspector Craig Thomson said that Victoria Police Youth Resource Officers maintain a continued, more targeted involvement in Operation Newstart, delivering a presentation on crime, penalties and consequences to at-risk young people to deter them from involvement in criminal behaviour.


Here it is- the fantastic Enhance Leadership Program 2016 Documentary entitled ‘Think Global Act Local’.

The students have worked hard to develop this over the last five weeks, interviewing various organisations and putting it all together in a single piece to raise awareness for youth homelessness, sustainability and Indigenous culture. They worked together with Baz, a great local filmmaker who shared many skills and tips on putting together this type of video project.

We hope you enjoy!

iLead Western 2016 Term 3 program

newstartGroup Photo of iLead class of 2016


See Operation Newstart Northern Graduation – supported by the City of Hume

29th July 2016 – National Centre Against Bullying Conference – At the invitation of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Operation Newstart attended the NATIONAL CENTRE AGAINST BULLYING Conference at the Crown Conference Centre on July 29th. It was a wonderful experience and Summer Robinson, a Graduate of Operation Newstart Northern’s Enhance Program (2015) represented her school, Diamond Valley Secondary College, on a Youth Forum discussing the views of young people about bullying, its causes, its consequences and solutions. Retired Family Court Judge, Alistair Nicholson and Walter Micak, father of Alannah and Madeline who lost their lives at Port Arthur twenty years ago, spoke eloquently about the subject, posing a series of resolutions for future action. Our conviction here at Operation Newstart is that early intervention makes all the difference; this too was the key learning that came out of this outstanding conference. Well done Brendon, Jane and the team at Northern for their intervention; the partnership they have formed with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation goes from strength to strength.

Summer far right.



18th July 2016 – Strategic Planning – Ian Claridge facilitated a strategic planning workshop on 18th July at Operation Newstart Casey HQ. It was a great day with participation from all program managers and support staff. Thanks also to the members of the Board who came along and provided important insights. Wide ranging discussions and debate centred around the establishment of revised priorities to assist us going forward over the next few years. A follow up workshop is scheduled for August 22nd at Travancore School, when a range of strategies can be examined and implementation considered. Thanks Ian and all who contributed.


21st June 2016 – Meeting at Parliament House with local Members of Parliament – Minister for Transport, Luke Donnellan, Judith Graley and Minister for Education and Emergency Services, James Merlino and Gabby Williams – operation Newstart Casey on Twitter

16th June 2016 – Another Generous Donation to Support Operation Newstart Programs 32ec1c_58d94773e50148e391643fa0e925583e~mv2

10th May 2016 – check out Operation Newstart Northern Blog – Hume Program Week Two

18th March 2016 – Link to Operation Newstart Northern Graduation

1st March 2016 – Operation Newstart Western – A couple of highlights of the ONW program so far have been surfing, learning hospitality skills at the William Angliss TAFE, and of course finishing our Great Ocean Walk. We have also decided upon a set of Trademark behaviours that we hold each other accountable for.

Term 1 Trademark Behaviours


23rd February 2016 – Operation Newstart Western students checking out the views on the Great Ocean Walk. It was a challenging 3 day hike, which made getting to the end even better!


16th February 2016– Check out Operation Newstart Northern Blog and updated website.

Operation Newstart Northern - first intake for 2016.

Operation Newstart Northern – first intake for 2016.


Operation Newstart Northern - first intake for 2016.The students all voted to decide the five most important values to them as a group were respect, honesty, organisation, team work and communication. The students also formed school goals to focus on when they have regular classes on Mondays & Tuesdays. This is a really important part of the program and students are supported to work on them throughout the term.

Operation Newstart Northern – first intake for 2016.The students all voted to decide the five most important values to them as a group were respect, honesty, organisation, team work and communication. The students also formed school goals to focus on when they have regular classes on Mondays & Tuesdays. This is a really important part of the program and students are supported to work on them throughout the term.

23rd December 2015 – Awarded $20,000.00 by the City of Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation – to support the ongoing commitment to evaluating everything we do. Internationally recognised Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires are completed by all Operation Newstart participants, parents and teachers. Dr. Anthony Carlsson at the Royal Children’s Hospital Mental Health Unit is currently evaluating this data.

26th January 2016 – City of Casey Australia Day Awards- – Congratulations to Jimmy Seeary, Program Manager and Sage Collie, Youth Worker, both with Operation Newstart Casey for their nominations for City of Casey Australia Day Awards (2016). Both were individual nominees, and Sage went on to receive a Highly Commended citation in the Young Citizen category for her 900 hours of volunteer service to Operation Newstart. Jimmy’s commendation was for City of Casey Non-Resident of the Year. It was a great evening. Ross Miller (Chairman) and Phil Wheatley (Executive Officer) both attended the awards presentation, supporting Jimmy and Sage.

Sage’s citation reads: The social impact of Sage Collie’s contribution to Operation Newstart Casey, an innovative program to re-engage young people in education, has been significant particularly to the many young students participating in the program with whom she has left an everlasting impression. She uses her skills and creativity to make personal portfolios for every student and also a graduation film. Sage’s commitment extends beyond this program and she also volunteers on weekends with children with disabilities. Sage is highly commended for this important work which she undertakes with a generous and caring nature, being a shining example and inspiration to others.


19th October 2015 – Protective Factors Associated with Youth and ResilienceCultures of Co-operation, A sense of connectedness to family, Good relationships with an adult outside the family, Having someone outside your family that believes in you, Development of special talents/hobbies and a zest for life… to read more go to p.15 Prevention and People Centred Policing.

10th September 2015 – Follow Operation Newstart Casey on Twitter – https://twitter.com/ONCasey

Local Government – a key supporter of Operation Newstart in prevention – see Nillumbik Council Community Grants

Operation Newstart Inspires Interstate Partnership with Police Click for link to Pathfinder program

24th June 2015 – Copperfield College congratulates year 9 student from Sydenham campus, Marni Noordam-Cordier, on the successful completion of the challenging Operation Newstart program.

22nd June 2015 – Freemasons Victoria presents cheque for $36,000.00. Director of the Freemasons Foundation Victoria Ltd., RWBro. Frank Fordyce saw first-hand how the Program benefits these children, when he visited Dandenong High School last week to present a cheque for $36,000.

“Each and every one of these children has grown enormously having completed the Program. They now have the skills and maturity to keep learning in a class environment, when before, they may have lost all motivation,” he said.Click for full story





7th October 2014 – Victoria Government Funding Support for Operation Newstart programs


On October 7th, Minister for Youth, Ryan Smith attended a ceremony held at the HQ Operation Newstart Casey to announce that the Victorian government was granting $90,000.00 per year for 3 years (a total grant of $270,000) to assist in the future staffing of Operation Newstart programs. The event was attended by Brad Battin, Member for Gembrook and in his earlier life, a Victoria Police Facilitator to Operation Newstart South Eastern. Brad and Minister Smith encouraged the recent graduates who attended to keep looking for opportunities to improve their outlook on life, to remain in education as long as possible and to seek help within their local communities. Also attending were Amanda Stapleton, Deputy Mayor of the City of Casey and Susan Serey who is contesting a local seat in the Victorian Parliament at the coming elections.

Recent strong community support to restore the level of police involvement in Operation Newstart programs directed to Victoria Police Command

6th October 2014 – Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire, Councillor Antonella Celli, calls for reinstatement of Victoria Police Facilitators into all Operation Newstart Programs

“I am writing in support of Operation Newstart and the need for a full time Victorian Police Member to be allocated to each site to facilitate the program. The Mornington Peninsula Shire community has, over the past 20 years, benefitted from a close working relationship between Victoria Police, schools, community agencies and the Shire.

Activities such as, the Program for Underage Drinking Diversion and Linkages (PUDDAL), ROPES, Operation Newstart, Mornington Peninsula Secondary College Police Youth Core Band, Southern Peninsula Swans Reclink Football, Blue Light and MP Schoolies, all of which, are facilitated by Victoria Police and partnering groups, have significantly improved the health and well being of young people within our community. They have also been widely recognised by the broader community as having positive impact and outcomes.

Integral to the success of these and other youth related initiatives has been the presence of Victoria Police Members in either facilitating or assisting in programs.

Operation Newstart commenced at Mount Erin Secondary College in 1997. The Mornington Peninsula Shire actively participated in the working group that drafted the Operation Newstart Program during 1995/96. A large number of young people from the Mornington Peninsula were engaged and transformed by the program over its years of operation. The suspension/closure of the Frankston Operation Newstart program has been a great loss for our community.

The mentoring provided by Victorian Police members to vulnerable young people engaged in Operation Newstart assisted them in becoming resilient and competent individuals. Operation Newstart also give Police and community groups an opportunity to form relationships, understand each other and built trust.

Operation Newstart is closely aligned with strategic priorities of Victoria Police, which include the importance of community partnerships and engagement with young people.”


25th June 2014: $72,000.00 donation from the Freemasons Victoria Board of Benevolence


Freemasons Victoria’s Board of Benevolence recently donated $72,000 towards Operation Newstart, a program that promotes good mental health practices and helps troubled teenagers get back on the right path.

Phil Wheatley, Operation Newstart’s Chief Executive said that the injection of funds would allow a youth worker to be employed for the next two terms in each of the five programs operation throughout Victoria.

“It’s critical and I can’t stress enough how important the partnership is between Freemasons Victoria and Operation Newstart”, Mr Wheatley said.

Frank Fordyce, Chair of the Freemasons Victoria Board of Benevolence said that when he heard that the program had recently lost much needed funding, he approached the board with the request.

“The Board unanimously decided that it would make this contribution to ensure this valuable program continued”, Frank said.
Click for further details

01-06-2014: Hampton Park College principal slams withdrawal of ONV grant
Hampton Park Secondary College principal David Finnerty slams Federal Government’s withdrawal of $300,000 given by Labor last August to Operation Newstart for troubled youths – Leader Newspaper Group – Click here for full detail

16-05-2014: ABC 7.30 Report

For the link to the ABC 7.30 Report – click here.

03-05-2014: Geelong Advertiser Article
Police fear surge in youth crime and deaths after axe falls on life-changing Operation Newstart program

15-04-2014: Geelong Advertiser Cartoon
Cartoonist and social commentator Mark Knight’s view of the value of Victoria Police involvement in prevention programs in the Geelong Advertiser.

Newstart cartoon

Commentary Geelong Advertiser – Inspector John Thexton

A Case for Operation Newstart @ 09 04 2014

Why Victoria Police need programs like Operation Newstart-2

28th February 2014 – Geelong Advertiser Editorial – Youth Need Our Backing

Whenever decisions to stop funding or support are made, it is imperative that careful consideration is given to the consequences.It is not just a line item in a budget. It is not just a saving anaccountant can deliver on a balance sheet.It comes at a cost. Operation Newstart is a good program, it is well run and it gets results.It’s time for a pause on the cost-cutting and a commitment to keeping the program going — because it works.

21st February 2014 – Program for western suburbs youth at risk
Operation Newstart has assisted more than 2000 of the state’s most vulnerable young people, including almost 500 in the western suburbs. Executive officer Phil Wheatley told the Weekly Review the award-winning program was likely to disappear without urgent help from the state government and Victoria Police.


Opposition police spokesman and Williamstown MP Wade Noonan raised the matter in State Parliament, calling on Police Minister Kim Wells to meet with program leaders. “Many of the secondary school-aged young people who have benefited from this program have been described as gifted, but through a variety of circumstances they have fallen on hard times and dabbled in crime, drugs, alcohol or other antisocial behaviours,” Mr Noonan said. “As such, many drop out of school and potentially consign themselves to lives lacking hope or direction. That is why Operation Newstart matters to them.”

18th February 2014 – Shadow Minister for Police & Emergency Services call for help for disengaged teenagers – reported in the Bendigo Advertiser on Monday 17th February

The reason police have done that is because they want to shift those resources to frontline policing.”
“While every community appreciates and acknowledges the importance of frontline policing, I think most communities would also appreciate that where crime can be prevented through well-targeted programs that those investments are worth making.

visit: Calls to help disengaged teenagers

YOU can help go to Help ONV

21-02-2014: Werribee Businesswomen Supports ONV
One of Werribee’s mostly highly regarded businesswomen has blasted the decision to withdraw police support

20-02-2014: Samantha Speaks Up

– Great effort by Samantha, Casey Graduate & James Seeray Casey Teacher Facilitator on Channel 7 News on 19th February. Great encouragement to us all to speak up. What you have to say matters and is being heard. Have your say on Operation Newstart Victoria Facebook page.

4th February 2014 – Brad Battin M.P.raises Operation Newstart in the Victorian Parliament
Operation Newstart
Mr BATTIN (Gembrook)—Congratulations, Deputy Speaker; what a great elevation for you. I wish you all the best.
I rise today to support the Operation Newstart program in the south-east. I understand that some opposite may like to use this program to score political points, but I do this as a passionate supporter of the program and as the original facilitator of the then south-east, now Dandenong program. Victoria Police has supported this program since its inception in Frankston as a marine-style program to assist youth at risk. Over time the expansion of the program has seen more land-based physically and mentally challenging activities to give young people the tools for the challenges in life.

In the south-east we have seen the results for young people and their mental health, we have seen the issues surrounding disengagement and we have seen concern for youth with no goals. I understand Victoria Police makes these operational decisions, and I support the work its members do in the community. I request that, as this decision will affect the future of young people in a challenging world, Victoria Police consider the program on its merits.
The program has had in-depth analyses by the Royal Children’s Hospital and other organisations which prove this is an effective program with tangible results. I will continue to talk about the program. I have personally seen the changes in the lives of young people, and I support the committee and local-level facilitators who strive to make the lives of young people in the growth corridor better.

When we were in the program we never forgot that the young minds we were working with were our future. They will be the people who ensure that we have a vibrant future. It is important to work with them and guide them on the path they want to take, and I assure you that not one participant wanted to follow a pattern of crime or disengagement, but many did want to get the tools and learn to be the person they wanted to be in the future.

Latest Youtube: – Operation Newstart Geelong Graduates tackling the Kokoda Track Sept 2013 – sponsored by members of the Geelong community to further develop Graduates resilience. Aired on Channel and Narrated by Channel Nine Reporter Laura Turner.

27th November 2013 – Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright wrote to Operation Newstart Victoria stating, “it is with much regret I must formally advise of our organisational imperative to withdraw the dedicated full time and part time commitment of Victoria Police members to the delivery of this program.”

While we are disappointed that Victoria Police has made this decision, we thank them for the 15 years of wonderful service they have delivered to Victorian youth through their participation, and partnership, in Operation Newstart. We have their assurance that at the local level, there will be many opportunities for Victoria Police to continue assisting our programs, albeit without direct staffing.

The good news is that five Operation Newstart programs will commence the first term in 2014,

Operation Newstart Western (servicing Melbourne’s western suburbs)

Operation Newstart Northern (servicing Melbourne’s northern suburbs)

Operation Newstart South Eastern (servicing schools in Greater Dandenong)

Operation Newstart Casey (servicing schools in the City of Casey)

Operation Newstart Geelong (servicing schools in Greater Geelong).

Two other programs (Frankston and Bendigo) have had to be suspended for the time being, and we will all work assiduously to bring them back on-line as soon as resources become available. We understand that the need is just as great in these regions.

More than 150 young Victorians will graduate from this proven program in 2014. When you consider the ripple effect this has, hundreds of young people, their classmates, friends, family and the broader community will be beneficiaries.

Earlier articles (2008 – 2011) relevant to Operation Newstart


Casey Eyewatch – Facebook – Dec 6 2013

Berwick Secondary College Newsletter – 28 June 2013

Geelong Breakfast Lions Club

Brad Battin MP – Comments on Operation Newstart

transcript of Interview with then Federal Justice Minister Jason Clare 20 Aug 2013

CGU Insurance & Bendigo Bank make a difference – $5,000.00 to Operation Newstart Central Victoria (Bendigo) 21 Aug 2012

Anthony Byrne MP – Federal Member for Holt – Operation Newstart receives grant of $300,000.

Geelong Chamber of Commerce – Geelong Youth Kokoda Program

NAB Schools First – Our Winners _ Operation Newstart

Brimbank/Melton Local Learning & Employment Network – Newstart ilead program graduation

At-Risk Kids given a New Start

Bendigo Program Offers Students a New Start – Bendigo Advertiser – Feb 15 2011

Bluescope Steel – Our Communities Are Our Homes

When a Helping Hand is Just the Start, The Age 9 Oct 2010

Getting a New Start – Shepparton Newstart – Police Life October 2009 p. 18.

High-adventure, education and a New Start for At Risk Youth – Holmesglen News – May 2009

A New Start for Youth – 8 Sept 2008