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EDITORIAL

Police reminder: parents – talk to your kids about potential online dangers

Police have regularly urged parents to be mindful of their children’s online activities, but particularly so during the school holidays when the kids have more time at home.
Many parents are unaware of the potential dangers presented to young people.
Country kids are just as vulnerable to online predation as city kids.
“With school holidays we want to remind the community to have regular conversations with children about their activities online and how they can keep themselves safe,” Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Chris Goddard said.
So far this year, investigators from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit have executed 27 search warrants and arrested 26 people for 95 offences.
Inspector Goddard said recent incidents are a timely reminder for parents and carers to speak with young people about potential dangers online.
“For young people, any online platform that allows them to be in contact with others that they do not know – and have only met in the online environment – can put them at risk,” Det A/Supt Goddard said.
“From a police perspective, our priority is protecting children from any type of harm, and we will always utilise every resource at our disposal to locate anyone who uses the internet to groom children.
“While social media apps allow us to be better connected with people we know, they also provide opportunity for people we don’t know to connect with us – and this includes strangers talking to our children.”
Below are the kinds of situations police – Strike Force Trawler is the specialist unit – are dealing with on a regular basis in city suburbs and country towns:
Strike Force Trawler detectives have charged four men over past weeks following separate investigations into alleged online grooming across NSW.

Last month, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit began engaging online with a man from Sans Souci.
Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 13-year-old girl and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform with the child.
On June 10, a search warrant was executed at property at Sans Souci, where detectives seized electronic devices.
Following further inquiries, detectives arrested a 43-year-old man at Kogarah Police Station on June 15.
He was charged with use carriage service-procure under 16 years for sexual activity. The man appeared at Sutherland Local Court on Friday, June 18, where he was granted strict conditional bail to reappear at the same court on Friday, August 13.
In a second investigation, CEIU detectives began engaging online with a man from Orange last month.
Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform with the child. Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives arrested a 57-year-old man at a home at Orange about 11.40am on Wednesday, June 16.
A search warrant was subsequently executed at the home, where detectives seized a mobile phone.
The man was taken to Orange Police Station and charged with one count of use carriage service to groom person under 16 years for sex. He was granted strict conditional bail to Orange Local Court on Monday, July 26.
In a third incident, CEIU detectives began engaging online with a man from Paddington in June 2021.
Following inquiries, a 55-year-old man was arrested at a home at Paddington about 8am on Thursday, June 17.
A search warrant was executed at the property, where detectives seized electronic devices. The man was taken to Surry Hills Police Station where he was charged with two counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material.
He appeared at Central Local Court the same day, where he was granted strict conditional bail to reappear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, August 10.
In a fourth investigation, CEIU detectives began engaging online with a man from Sydney’s south last month. Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 13-year-old boy and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform with the child. Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives arrested a 33-year-old man at Westmead about on Friday 18.

A search warrant was subsequently executed at a home in Roseberry, where detectives seized electronic devices.
The man was taken to Granville Police Station and charged with two counts of use carriage service-procure under 16 years for sexual activity.
He appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday, June 19, where he was refused bail to reappear at the same court on Thursday, July 1.

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Your Say

‘Betrayal’ – Lock the Gate

Farmers in the North West have reacted with anger to an announcement by the Deputy Premier that some of the state’s most productive farmland will be available to be exploited by Santos for coal seam gas describing the move as a ‘betrayal’ of the National Party’s rural constituency, Lock The Gate Alliance said in a statement.
“The ‘Future of Gas Statement’ moves the spectre of coal seam gas from large swathes of the North West and significantly restricts gas exploration. However, it also confirms that the Liverpool Plains, and the rich farmlands surrounding Narrabri will have coal seam gas exploration licences renewed.
“Mullaley farmer Margaret Fleck said farmers were already fighting difficult conditions, and would now have the added damage and stress of industrial gasfields to contend with.
“For more than a decade farmers across North West NSW have been ploughing time and money into defending farms and the region’s water and land resources from the threat of the industrial gasfields.
“John Barilaro has condemned our communities to having to keep on fighting to safeguard water, soils and the social fabric of rural communities for the next generation.
“The gas strategy is backing two coal seam gas pipelines, that are fiercely opposed by landholders across
hundreds of kilometres of farmland. We will not lie down and let this industry spread through our districts.
“Future generations of farmers will have to contend with the effects of the climate crisis, which will be worsened by continued expansion of the damaging coal seam gas industry.
“National Party members around Boggabri put forward a successful motion at the National Party Conference in 2019 to have all expired gas leases extinguished, but this decision ignores that motion.
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “This announcement and this decision has been cooked up with Santos without any community consultation. It is a betrayal of rural NSW and communities only just emerging from a record-breaking drought. Communities in Coonamble, Gilgandra, Moree and the Upper Hunter are finally spared from the spectre of coal seam gas, and the decision not to proceed with gas exploitation in the Far West is very welcome.
“Promises to seek alternatives to gas are welcome, but the Deputy Premier’s decision to expand coal seam gas is at odds with New South Wales’ commitment to carbon neutrality and makes the Liverpool Plains and Namoi Valley a sacrifice zone for the double whammy of Santos’s coal seam gas damage and the legacy of climate change.”

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