07 septiembre 2023
It’s probably fair to say that no matter where they are, whether it be in a coastal village, a big city, or a country town in the outback, kids will be kids.
And though kids will always be kids, it is paramount that they are kept safe and given every opportunity to grow into productive members of society.
With a population of six and a half thousand residents, Newman is situated in the Pilbara region, about a five hour drive south of the coastal town of Port Hedland.
At an average walking pace you can walk from one side of Newman to the other in 45 minutes, which means if you’re young and energetic there’s plenty to explore. It also means you’re close to your friends, and the opportunities to escape home for a bit and go on an adventure (and perhaps get in to a rowdy spot of trouble) is very easy.
And that’s where Martu Patrol comes in. The Martu People are the custodians of Jigalong, which sits in Nyiyaparli country (which is where Newman stands). The Martu Patrol was set up a couple years ago to ensure that a rowdy good time doesn’t get out of hand.
Managed by the Newman Women’s Shelter, in conjunction with Newman Futures, Martu leaders, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa, WA Police, BHP, and the Newman Feedback Group, Martu Patrol operates seven nights a week from 9pm to 1am. Driving a colourful van around Newman, their key task is to ensure that youth are getting home safely, or in some cases, receiving a hot meal.
‘We do have a lot of kids out on the street for whatever reason, wandering the streets late at night, which is a major concern to their families and also to the rest of the community,’ reflects Arina, CEO of the women’s shelter. ‘If we are going to build a strong, safe community, we need to work together. We all need to chip in and make this a safe and wonderful place to live in.’
Having moved to Newman just recently, Arina loves not just her role, but the town itself. ‘I love the work that we do. I love Newman, it’s totally unique. There’s amazing people here, and I think we’ve got a unique community.’
Martu Patrol started out with volunteers only, but has since made such a positive impact in the community that more funding has been acquired to expand the program to include employees. And while the focus is on vulnerable youth, having a real and tangible presence on the streets is just one small part of making sure that when kids are kids, they’re living their best life.