Operation Newstart was created in 1997 as a joint initiative between the Department of Education and Victoria Police. The intensive program was developed as a more innovative way to empower young people to help themselves, unlocking them from limiting situations and allowing them to move on to the next positive phase of their secondary school or post-secondary school education.

Operation Newstart Geelong began in 2011 with strong local support. Built on the Operation Newstart model the Geelong program has evolved to address the specific needs of young people in the Geelong community. There have now been 23 groups graduate as part of the Geelong program with 205 young people participating from 11 local government schools.