Funds blow limits patrol frequency

The Nyoongar Patrol aims to resolve conflicts and link Aboriginal people to support services, helping them avoid arrest.

But it must reduce its services after it failed to get federal funding in the latest round of grants, with Fremantle losing a day.

An Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) spokesman said its 2013-14 Indigenous Justice Program was not funding any Australian patrols. Another department will fund patrols only in the Northern Territory.

Nyoongar Patrol chief executive Maria McAtackney said the program’s night patrols category had ended.

The spokesman said the AGD had dropped categories to encourage innovation.

He said categories had only guided applicants, and were not aligned with specific funding.

The AGD spokesman said it was inappropriate to explain why the application failed. He said priority was given to projects that demonstrated they would address offending, reoffending and victimisation.

He said state and territory spending cuts had contributed to a surge in federal applications, which more than doubled for 2013-14, and AGD had also tried to raise the program’s profile.

‘Existing grantees were advised that the process would be competitive,’ he said.

AGD staff member Carl Lincoln was involved in the review process. He told Ms McAtackney patrols were low priority but had not been ruled out and performance still counted.

His assessment of the patrol found no gaps or weaknesses and said it significantly reduced the need for police intervention.