Dear Editor,

It was a privilege to attend the graduation ceremony of students from Operation Newstart Casey recently. Congratulations to Frankie, Kiarrah, Ben, Daniel, Harrison, Jarryd, Madeline and Jordan on their outstanding accomplishment.

Yet, what should have been a fine celebration was marred by the news that Victoria Police have withdrawn from the program.

Over the past six years Operation Newstart has helped disengaged young people in Casey reengage with the education system and most importantly their local community.

It is a fantastic program that has now been put at risk by a short-sighted and callous government.

Already we have seen over 200 young people get the help they needed to get their lives back on track through this program.

Senior Constable Tracey Atkins worked tirelessly to ensure these young people didn`t fall through the cracks. I know she will be sorely missed by the many she has helped.

A heartfelt thanks to Tracey and everyone involved in Operation Newstart, you have done an exceptional job.

I urge Victoria Police and the Napthine Government to reconsider this decision and ensure Operation Newstart Casey can continue its fine work next year.

Judith Graley MP
State Labor Member for Narre Warren South