A unique grassroots City of Cockburn program that reduced illegal and unsafe motorbike use in our suburbs has been shortlisted in a statewide award recognising best practise in collaboration.
The Cockburn Youth XLR8 Motocross program was shortlisted in the Institute of Public Administration Australia WA 2021 achievement awards in the Best Practice in Collaboration Between Government and Non-Government Organisations category, announced on 3 December.
The annual IPAAWA awards showcase people, projects and organisations that make a positive impact on the public administration sector and community.
The City’s reward-based XLR8 program was designed for vulnerable and at risk youth in partnership with its Cockburn Youth Service, WA Police and the Coastal Motorcycle Club (CMC), with teenage participants referred by the Department of Communities and Youth Justice.
The program utilises confiscated motorbikes donated to the program by WA Police, with participants committing to individual goals including increased school attendance and not offending, in return for weekly coaching sessions at CMC’s Henderson track.
During two semesters in 2019 and 2020, 13 young people aged 14-18 from the Cockburn area learned safe motorbike riding and maintenance techniques, as a reward for attending school regularly and staying out of trouble.
Participants joined qualified mechanics to maintain the confiscated bikes, making them safe to ride, learning safe riding techniques and basic first aid, before receiving motorbike lessons in a controlled environment at the fit-for-purpose track.
City of Cockburn Youth Services Manager Michelle Champion said since the pilot program began the City had received interest from other Perth, WA and Australian local governments and youth services keen to replicate the service.
“We are very grateful to have the purpose-built motorcycle club and its committed volunteers on our doorstep which was crucial to establishing this successful program,” Ms Champion said.
In 2016-2017, City rangers received 161 reports of illegal or unsafe motorbike riding on the City’s reserves, ovals, roads and bushland.
The reports continued to decrease in the following three years, reducing to 120 for 2019-2020.
City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the problem was common in many local government areas, especially those in expanding or outer metropolitan suburbs.
“It prompted our Youth Services team to devise this preventative community education program as an innovative solution,” Mayor Howlett said.
“Its aim is to prevent an increase in illegal riding activity, or at least try to stop the problem from worsening, and reduce the likelihood of serious injury to a rider, pedestrian and other road users in our community due to this illegal activity.”
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