darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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August 13, 2010

A free personal computer filter will be made available to families to protect children from online threats in a $60 million commitment under a Coalition Government, according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester, who has been advocating for more resources to assist parents in cyber-safety initiatives across regional areas, has welcomed the funding allocation.

The Coalition’s cyber-safety policy will also provide:

* $30 million to extend and expand the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) successful Cybersafe Outreach Programmes;
* $10.5 million over four years to introduce a new national education campaign to combat bullying and cyber-bullying;
* Establish a new Ministerial Advisory Committee on Social Networking.

Mr Chester said free filters would form part of a comprehensive range of measures to help educate and equip families, teachers and students so they can use the internet with a reduced fear of being exposed to harmful or inappropriate online content.

“The internet and all the positives it can offer are a fact of life in the 21st century but there is the potential for inappropriate activity,” Mr Chester said.

“More and more young people are using social networking pages and other internet programs as a natural extension of their daily lives.

“And in regional areas the internet is keeping people in contact with family and friends, helping them to access services and education and reducing isolation of regional communities.

“But it is also open to criminal use and there have been several documented cases in Australia of cyber-bullying and serious assaults including rape and murder, directly linked to young people’s online activity.

“That is why the roll-out of a plan for real action to filter online content and provide extensive education and guidance is important.

“I will be working hard to ensure families and schools across Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley get the support they need to enjoy a safe online environment.”

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