High-profile sports stars like NRL and AFL players could be recruited as part of a $47 million effort fight violent extremism in the state's public schools, the NSW Government says.
The multi-million dollar package, announced on Monday, includes $6.2 million worth of extra training and support for a bigger school counsellor workforce, $15 million for five 'Specialist School Support Teams' that can respond to crises, and a 24/7 hotline to report school concerns.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announces $47 million to be spent in state schools to stop radicalisation of young peopleNovember 2, 2015
The package also pledges $12 million for "community cohesion" schemes aimed at helping protect young people from violent-extremist influences.
Premier Mike Baird told reporters in Sydney the initiatives would be available to students from the start of 2016.
Premier Mike Baird's $47 million package to fight violent extremists in schools. https://t.co/ISgMrXfrOG— smh.com.au (@smh) November 2, 2015
"We have to do everything we possibly can to protect our kids and keep our community safe," Baird told reporters.
"We know that our schools have a role, and the staff in our schools, in addition to the broader community."
The strategies have been fast-tracked in the wake of the killing of police accountant Curtis Cheng, who was gunned down outside Parramatta Police Headquarters last month.
The long-time police employee was shot dead by 15-year-old Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad, who attended nearby Arthur Phillip High School.
Baird said another key plank in the scheme was establishing "ambassadors" who would act as role models for at-risk teens.
"The establishment of ambassadors is another part of this and importantly looking for those role models who can engage with our youth," Baird told reporters.
He said recruiting sport stars would be the "natural expectation".
"It has to be done in consultation with the Muslim community in particular.
"There are sports stars being considered as part of that."
Baird announces list of "countering violent extremism" measures incl. counselling & support services in NSW schools pic.twitter.com/Usu1pDVtPw— Mohamed Taha (@Mo_Taha1) November 2, 2015
Asked if he would ever support Muslim children walking out of school assemblies when the national anthem was sung, Baird's response was clear.
"No," he said.
"That is something that would in no circumstances be supported here in NSW."
Earlier, Baird said the new measures were needed because the state was "locked in a global struggle with cynical manipulators who exploit vulnerable young people".
“I have always said, we are much stronger united than divided, and the measures announced today are designed to assist with precisely that."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull backed the initiative's roll-out.
"The radicalisation of our youth is occurring at an alarming rate," he said in a statement.
"Our most effective defence against terrorism is to prevent people from becoming terrorists in the first place."
He said the measures would complement initiatives discussed at last month's National Meeting on Countering Violent Extremism in Canberra.